HC Deb 03 August 1944 vol 402 cc1608-9
Captain Cunningham- Reid

Mr. Speaker, you have been good enough to indicate that you will give an answer to the following question of Procedure. From the point of view of Privilege and repetition, would it be in Order to discuss a subject, and to use arguments in public Debate, that had previously, in the same Session, been used in Secret Debate?

Mr. Speaker

A matter which has been decided in Secret Session cannot be discussed again, whether in Secret Session or in open Session. It is, in fact, the ordinary Rule which prohibits re-opening in the same Session a question which has once been decided. A matter which has been debated but not decided in Secret Session may be debated again in open Session, provided there is no allusion to proceedings in Secret Session, and no disclosure of information acquired in Secret Session. If any such disclosure should take place, it is for the Leader of the House and not for myself to take action upon it as a breach of Privilege. A question which has thus been debated in Secret Session is not, thereby, what may be called permanently sterilised, but, obviously, much depends on the nature and scope of the question.

Captain Cunningham-Reid

As a result of your answer, Sir, under certain circumstances, would you not be rather at a disadvantage in bringing a Member to Order who was repeating in Public Session something he had said in Secret Session? Would you not then yourself be guilty of disclosing something that had taken place in Secret Session?

Mr. Speaker

I notice the nice conundrum which the hon. and gallant Member sets me, but it is really for the House to say there has been a breach of Privilege. I fancy my attention would have to be drawn to the fact that an hon. Member was disclosing something that had been said in Secret Session, and, therefore, the conundrum to myself might not, I hope, arise.