Valerie responds to the Privileges Committee’s Report

On Thursday 28 October 2016, I responded to the Privileges Committee’s report on conduct of witnesses

 

The motion of the report was:

 

That this House—

 

(i) approves the First Report from the Committee of Privileges (HC 662);

 

(ii) having regard to the conclusions of the Committee in respect of Mr Colin Myler, considers that Mr Myler misled the Culture, Media and Sport Committee by answering questions falsely about his knowledge of evidence that other News of the World employees had been involved in phone-hacking and other wrongdoing, and therefore formally admonishes him for his conduct; and

 

(iii) having regard to the conclusions of the Committee in respect of Mr Tom Crone, considers that Mr Crone misled the Culture, Media and Sport Committee by giving a counter-impression of the significance of confidentiality in the Gordon Taylor settlement and by answering questions falsely about his knowledge of evidence that other News of the World employees had been involved in phone-hacking and other wrongdoing, and therefore formally admonishes him for his conduct.

 
 

Below is my speech in full:

 

I thank the Leader of the House for his statement, and I agree with him. I also thank the Privileges Committee for its diligent work.

 

The Committee of Privileges adopted a procedure that met high standards of fairness, while being proportionate and properly parliamentary. The standard of proof applied by the Committee was whether the allegations were significantly more likely than not to be true.

 

It is always a serious issue when witnesses mislead a Committee, and it undermines the Committee process. It was right that the Culture Committee referred this matter to the Privileges Committee. Members should be able to question witnesses without fear or favour, affection or ill will. It is right that the exercise and enforcement of the powers of the House in relation to Select Committees and contempts be referred to the Committee of Privileges for a detailed, considered inquiry, as it may be necessary to take legal or other advice.

 

It is normal practice to agree with the Privileges Committee report. Therefore, the Opposition agree with the motion in the name of the Leader of the House.