Ooops, Jack Straw gets it wrong on Parliamentary Privilege

The current fuss over whether Parliamentary Privilege will prevent three Labour MPs and one Conservative peer from conviction on charges of fiddling their expenses makes this comment from Jack Straw, made as recently as December 2008, look rather complacent:

The interaction between the judicial system and parliamentary privilege is well settled.

Not quite.

2 responses to “Ooops, Jack Straw gets it wrong on Parliamentary Privilege”

  1. Er, no he doesn’t – at least not regarding criminal law. I would like to point you to this quote from Mr Speaker (the previous one): “I should also remind the House, as stated in chapter 7 of ‘Erskine May’, that parliamentary privilege has never prevented the operation of the criminal law.” (Link: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm081203/debtext/81203-0001.htm#08120351000001 )

    Since the three MPs are facing a criminal charge Parliamentary privilege can do nothing to protect them, which is just as it should be. Freedom from arrest was only ever a Parliamentary privilege in civil matters anyway, even before it became obsolete.

    The “eminent QCs” who have apparently advised Messers Morley, Devine and Chaytor to use privilege as a defence are clearly not worth their fees. (Plus ca change…).

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