Row looms over privileges committee: Tories could be hard pressed to find MPs suitable as candidates. Patricia Wynn Davies reports
Wednesday 13 July 1994
On the Labour side, senior privy counsellors such as Tony Benn and Peter Shore were being mooted, along with John Morris, the shadow Attorney General.
Membership of the committee would be decided through the 'normal channels' - negotiation between government and opposition whips. But finding suitable Tories without a wide range of outside commercial interests might prove difficult.
Dale Campbell-Savours, the MP for Workington, who has led calls for an investigation, reminded the House yesterday that the Select Committee on Members' Interests ruled in its 1990-91 report that members should withdraw from select committee inquiries where there were conflicts of interest. More arguments might follow about timing in the run-up to the recess. Labour MPs are keen not to lose momentum.
The ultimate aim of some Labour MPs is not so much to ban all outside interests - that is widely viewed as unrealistic; both Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs hold paid directorships and consultancies - but to stop MPs actively pressing issues on their behalf.
Some MPs predict a good half of the current clutch of consultancies and lobbyists would wither away. More cynical Westminster sources warned, however, against expecting too much from the committee. While its remit is unlimited, there is no rule that it must even make a recommendation.
The last Parliament's committee began investigating the leaking of a draft report of the social security select committee report by one of its members, Jerry Hayes, Tory MP for Harlow. Then came the 1992 election, after which no new committee was appointed. The matter ran quietly into the sand.
On other occasions the committee has shown its teeth. Joe Ashton, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, yesterday told the Commons of his experience before the committee in 1974. He had raised the issue of 'MPs for hire' and was censured for contempt of the House even though he was the whistleblower, not a recipient of money.
In 1957, the then editor of the Sunday Express, John Junor, was forced to apologise for a serious contempt at the Bar of the House over an article about petrol allocations to party organisations.
Rulings are not always followed through by MPs, however. In 1986 they voted against the committee's recommendation that Richard Evans, a Times lobby reporter, should be banned from Parliament for six months over the leaking of a draft defence select committee report.
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: 'These are completely fake' say singer's representatives
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Israel to appropriate 400 hectares in West Bank for ‘state use’
Kate Upton nude pictures leak: Model's representatives 'looking into' authenticity of naked images
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...
£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...