HC Deb 23 January 1957 vol 563 cc201-16

Second Report [20th December] from the Committee of Privileges to be considered forthwith.—[Mr. R. A. Butler.]

Considered accordingly.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department and Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler)

I beg to move, That Mr. John Junor do attend this House Tomorrow at a quarter past Three o'clock. I said yesterday that I thought it would be preferable that any debate we had on this subject—I do not say on this Motion, but on this Subject—should take place perhaps tomorrow. I said that I should move a Motion, which is now on the Order Paper, ordering the attendance of Mr. John Junor. I suggest to the House that we follow the same procedure as we adopted in similar cases in the past, where we have given the person affected by the Report of the Committee of Privileges an opportunity of making a submission to the House before proceeding to consider the Report of the Committee, and also what action should be taken on it.

If I may suggest this, I think it would be unwise for the House to adopt this Report now, without knowing whether Mr. Junor has anything further to say. That is why I have moved this simple Motion. The Report was published on 9th January, and no doubt hon. Members have had an opportunity of reading it and making themselves familiar with its contents. After Mr. Junor has attended tomorrow there will, of course, be an opportunity to discuss the Report after we have heard what he has to say. I would, therefore, prefer to confine myself to these few words in moving this Motion today.

Mr. Hugh Gaitskell (Leeds, South)

There is force in the argument of the Lord Privy Seal that it would be more appropriate not to debate this Motion now, but to wait until Mr. Junor has appeared at this House. I should, however, like to put to the Lord Privy Seal two points. The right hon. Gentleman said that there would be an opportunity, after Mr. Junor had been here, to discuss the matter. Can the right hon. Gentleman tell me on what Motion we should then be able to discuss the issue, and what particular issue, and when precisely? Does he mean that we shall then have an opportunity to discuss the Report of the Committee of Privileges, or has he something else in mind?

My second point is this. It is quite evident that there is a certain amount of disquiet in the House about petrol allocations, and their relative size, for different classes of persons. I believe that it would be a help to all of us if the Government would give us, say, half-a-day for the discussion of this problem, with the representative of the Ministry of Power answering, or indeed introducing, the debate, if that would be appropriate. If we may have an answer to those two points, it would enable us to proceed with the business today.

Mr. R. A. Butler

With permission, I would reply that the Motion I shall move, as Leader of the House, must, I think, be left to be moved spontaneously after I hear, and the House hears, what Mr. Junor has to say. That may perhaps seem not quite clear to some hon. Members, but it is the result of considerable thought on the part of some of us. We think that it is the right procedure to adopt.

It will be a Motion, therefore, in accordance with the statement made by Mr. Junor. It may well follow the Report of the Second Committee and request that its conclusions be drawn to their logical conclusion. I would rather keep the terms of the Motion until we have heard Mr. Junor, but there will be a Motion, and that will be open to debate immediately afterwards. Its terms will be clear and simple, so that the fact that there is no notice of it today will not prejudice hon. Members in their desire to speak.

In answer to the right hon. Gentleman's second point, I have already acquainted the Ministers concerned, and especially the Minister principally concerned, with the wishes of the House. I cannot undertake to give Government time for such a debate. That we must discuss through the usual channels, if we may—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] That is a normal reservation. I think that the more clearly the facts can be established the better it will be for hon. Members, the clearer it will be to the country and the better it will be for the prestige of the House.

The noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) drew my attention specifically to this yesterday, and I have already taken action in that respect. So let us discuss through the usual channels what is the best opportunity for making these facts clear to the House.

Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)

I should like to fortify the observations of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition in his request for a debate in order to clear the air about this matter. The Leader of the House has said, in effect, that this can be discussed through the usual channels. But this is a very singular affair. This is a matter which appears to reflect on the conduct of hon. Members. Surely, in circumstances of that kind, it is the bounden duty of the Government immediately to provide facilities to enable the House to debate the matter.

I am not speaking of what is contained in the Report of the Committee of Privileges. I am speaking of the wider issues involved. Surely it is not a matter for finding time in, so to speak, a "rule of thumb" fashion. It is for the Government themselves to enable hon. Members to dispose of these very grave allegations. I hope that the Government will consider that.

I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman two questions. He has said that we can leave this matter over until tomorrow, until we hear what Mr. Junor has to say. I am not quite clear what is meant by that; because if by that is meant—it is merely an assumption on my part—that Mr. Junor is to be asked to make an apology, in my submission that apology—perhaps not the kind of apology hon. Members would expect in the circumstances, but at any rate, an apology—is contained in this Report. In reply to questions put to Mr. John Junor by several members of this Committee—and, by the way, there were four members of this Committee who are reputable lawyers—

Mr. David Logan (Liverpool, Scotland Division)

Are there any?

Mr. Shinwell

Whatever may be my views on the legal qualities of the Attorney-General, at any rate he may be regarded as reputable. Otherwise, if he were disreputable, he ought not to be sitting on the Government Front Bench. I hope that that will not be regarded as a criticism of the right hon. and learned Gentleman.

Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)

Surely, it is a disqualification.

Mr. Shinwell

I leave that to the lawyers to argue.

An apology is contained in the Report. That is on the record; it is not an assumption on my part. Mr. Junor, in reply to interrogation, said that if the interpretation placed on what appeared in the Sunday Express, the newspaper of which he happens to be editor, was regarded as discourteous to hon. Members, he regretted it.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are we not getting very near to discussing the contents of the Report? If so, would not that be out of order?

Mr. Speaker

I think it would. I was trying to follow the right hon. Gentleman's argument. I thought that it must ultimately be directed to the Question before us, namely, that this gentleman do appear tomorrow. I thought that the right hon. Gentleman was going to argue that Mr. Junor should not appear tomorrow and, if so, that would be in order. But what the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) says is quite right. We cannot discuss the Report on this narrow Motion.

Mr. Shinwell

With your knowledge of these matters, Mr. Speaker, and ability, if I may say so with respect, you gathered what I am trying to elicit from the right hon. Gentleman. I did not expect to have a clear passage through this canal without a point of order from the master of points of order, my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman). If I may dispose of that obstacle, let me repeat my request that the right hon. Gentleman might be good enough to say what kind of statement he expects from Mr. Junor.

Mr. Ellis Smith

If he were a working man, I know what would happen.

Mr. Shinwell

What kind of statement does the right hon. Gentleman expect from Mr. Junor? Does he expect Mr. Junor to say something in addition to what he has said in reply to the interrogation and which is contained in this Report? I should like to know.

My second question is this, and I think it even more important. In this Report we are informed that the Committee came to a considered conclusion. It was that Mr. John Junor should be "severely reprimanded"—I am reading from the Report. If the Committee so decided—if it came to the conclusion that the culprit should be severely reprimanded—then it seems to me that it has disposed of the matter entirely—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Well, it has not left it sub judice. The Committee has given a clear lead to the House and unless the House is to throw overboard the Committee of Privileges then, clearly, it must accept the severe reprimand which is contained in this Report.

I am not quite clear what is to be discussed tomorrow. No doubt there are more capable Parliamentarians than myself sitting on the bench below me, who have much greater experience and greater eloquence than I have, but I do my very best in limited and difficult circumstances and the House must make the best of it.

There is a great deal to be said about this matter and I hope that there will be an opportunity of saying it. This, so to speak, is a curtain-raiser and, meanwhile, I should like the information for which I have asked and some elucidation on the points that I have raised.

Mr. Philip Bell (Bolton, East)

May I, Mr. Speaker, through you, ask my right hon. Friend to explain this to me? Will it be possible for us to debate, when this gentleman appears at the Bar, whether he should be severely reprimanded or not, before he is severely reprimanded, if he is reprimanded?

Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry, East)

I should like to put to the House my reasons—I know that many of my hon. Friends will disagree with me on this—for thinking that it would be unwise to take the course which the Leader of the House has proposed. I want to put forward the arguments why I feel that Mr. John Junor should not appear at the Bar of the House tomorrow. I ask hon. Members to listen indulgently, because I think that there is something to be said about this.

I am not going to deny—I must touch on the content of the Report, because I cannot help doing so—that Mr. Junor was found guilty of a breach of Privilege. I would also agree that his failure to make an overt and unconditional apology to the Committee was a very grave error, although I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. E. Shinwell) that there was a considerable element of apology in the answers which Mr. Junor gave. I notice that the Attorney-General was so busy interrupting Mr. Junor that we are not certain that he did not fail to apologise, because he was interrupted so often by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I was not there, so I do not know but at the point when I thought Mr. Junor was going to apologise the Attorney-General chipped in again.

Mr. Junor comes here tomorrow. Who will gain most out of this sensational appearance at the Bar of the House? I know one group of people who are looking for this, and that is the Beaver-brook Press. Could there be greater publicity for the charges that they have been making than to have their editor arraigned at the Bar of the House?

I do not deny that the House is in a very difficult dilemma. We are choosing between the balance of evils. I ask the House, before it makes up its mind, to look at the balance of evils. I can see the advantage of having Mr. Junor here if he acts as the Leader of the House hopes he will act and does what he hopes is most convenient. Of course, if Mr. Junor does not do what is most convenient it is very difficult to see how the advantage is to be achieved. Are we to arrest and imprison the man? We have the power to do so. I say that the House should consider, before we pass this Motion, whether we think that we would increase the dignity of Parliament and strengthen public confidence by committing Mr. Junor to the Tower because he refuses to apologise.

We are bound to ask ourselves that question and not rush into this on the lines of saying, "We hope that something nice will turn up tomorrow." In my experience, nothing nice does turn up when we rely on the Beaverbrook Press. They are sometimes inclined to think out their tactics a little more carefully than hon. Members of this House, and I do not imagine that Lord Beaverbrook and Mr. Junor have been totally inactive, during the last few days, in thinking out the best advantage that they can make of Mr. Junor's appearance tomorrow.

There are two other observations which I wish to make. I think that these are worth remembering. Certainly, I did not realise, until I read the Report of the Select Committee, how substantial was the scandal which was first called attention to by what was regarded, and by what I regard, as an outrageous editorial. It was outrageous and it did make a false and scandalous accusation about M.P.s. As so often happens in journalism, one can say a good thing and thereby reveal a bad thing. Mr. Junor called attention to this matter. I did not know, and I doubt whether many hon. Members here knew, about this scandal concerning petrol until it was thus revealed.

I would remind hon. Members, with great respect, that outrageous attacks, suitably answered, are the essence of democracy. [Interruption.] I am trying to put this point as clearly as I can. There has to be an outrageous attack in order that we may get the truth. Why have we privilege here to say anything we like, however scandalous, about anybody in this country? Some of us abuse that privilege. I can think of a number of hon. Members here who have made a great many observations which they could not possibly have made outside, not all of them hon. Members on one side of the House. They could not possibly have defended those remarks outside. They have abused that privilege.

That privilege of saying outrageous things is absolutely vital, because by the exercise of that privilege the truth comes out in the end, provided that we do not abuse the privilege too far.

Mr. Ellis Smith rose

Mr. Crossman

I cannot give way, because I want to complete this part of my argument. Moreover, I must declare my interest in this question. I happen to be not only a Member of the House but a practising journalist. Of course, I care primarily about the privileges of the House, but I care, secondly, very much about the freedom of the Press and about the relationship between the freedom of the Press and the privileges of this House, upon which democracy largely depends. If this relationship is not good and healthy democracy is undermined.

Should not we, who have been granted this tremendous privilege of free speech without fear of accusation or of being brought into court, be the last people to give the impression that we are afraid of being criticised? I know perfectly, well that hon. Gentlemen who are in favour of taking this action against Mr. Junor are not really afraid of criticism; but one must not only be guiltless; one must seem guiltless. I cannot think that the House has made itself look guiltless by its action on this whole question of petrol, because if ever there was behaviour designed to arouse the suspicion of the general public that there is something in this charge it is the way in which this House reacted to these undoubted violations of Privilege.

You reminded us yesterday, Mr. Speaker, that there are any number of breaches of Privilege which are genuine breaches on which you would have to say there was a prima facie case, but which are too trivial to be taken up. To do so would not increase the dignity of the House. You said that yourself, and you reminded us that it was still a breach of Privilege for anybody outside to print a report of what goes on in this House.

About 150 years ago there was an M.P. called John Wilkes. I do not know whether Mr. Junor is a more sensational or inaccurate journalist than John Wilkes, who was a very inaccurate journalist and a very bad man by moral standards. Nevertheless, at the bar of history, this House of Commons, which expelled John Wilkes on three occasions, has been proved wrong, and John Wilkes, bad man and inaccurate journalist, is now acclaimed to have been one of the founders of the freedom of democracy in this country. We have his portrait up in one of our rooms. I say this to remind hon. Members that we are not always right against people outside.

That is why I beg the Leader of the House to let the House at least reconsider this decision before we call John Junor before the House. He will no doubt enjoy it himself and Lord Beaver-brook will enjoy it even more. Suppose Mr. Junor should be sent to prison for a week; I can think of journalists nearer to my own stable who did not reduce their own incomes by suffering that penalty. It is not a terrible disaster to be sent to prison.

Mr. Roy Mason (Barnsley)

My hon. Friend is now giving it a build-up.

Mr. Crossman

My hon. Friend will find that this is not a build-up.

I am asking the House not to have the scene tomorrow. I know that most hon. Gentlemen want the scene tomorrow, but I do not want it. If hon. Gentlemen say that we must have it, I would remind them of an example in which the House showed very wise self-control. That was on the subject of Members' pay when, in my view absolutely rightly, we voted an increase in the pay of Members of Parliament. Practically every newspaper in the country was guilty of a breach of Privilege in accusing us roundly of doing so purely out of self-interest. How wise we were not to have newspaper after newspaper arraigned at the Bar for accusing us—

Mrs. Harriet Slater (Stoke-on-Trent, North)

There is no analogy at all.

Mr. Crossman

Let me assure my hon. Friend that if she had taken one of those editorials to Mr. Speaker he would have had to call it a prima facie case of breach of Privilege, for there were clear imputations that we were legislating purely in our own self-interest and not for the good of the nation.

Dr. Horace King (Southampton, Itchen)

We were.

Mr. Crossman

I do not think that we were. We were legislating to ensure that M.P.s were given a reasonable salary and not that Mr. Smith or Mr. Brown was given more money.

Mr. S. Silverman

Does my hon. Friend draw no distinction between a newspaper saying that Members of Parliament were legislating to give themselves more pay, when we were, and a newspaper saying that Members were giving themselves petrol privileges when we were not?

Mr. Crossman

I recognise that the two cases are not identical. My hon. Friend cannot accuse me of saying that the present case is not a gross breach of Privilege. I think it is. There would have been also a prima facie case of breach of Privilege if the former matter had been brought to the notice of Mr. Speaker.

I am asking myself whether the course of action now recommended to the House will do this House much good. I suggest that it will not. The reprimand implicit in the Select Committee's Report is overwhelmingly there. We know that Mr. Junor was reprimanded. We would be far wiser to leave the reprimand there and not have a series of people brought to the Bar of the House to apologise in each case. The net effect will be that the general public does not increase its respect for a House of Commons that seems so prickly about its privileges.

Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)

The plea that we have just heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) is a strong and honest plea. Nobody who knows my hon. Friend doubts that it was a sincere and well-reasoned plea, but it was a plea of cowardice. It was a plea that we should take no notice, that we should let anyone who has already been condemned by our Committee of Privileges on the instruction of a direct Resolution of this House, be taken no notice of whatsoever.

Mr. Crossman

Not at all.

Mr. Pannell

I listened to the argument of my hon. Friend and I hope that he will now listen to my argument.

You will remember, Mr. Speaker, that you took a rather broad view of this matter at first by saying that it might be just as well for our dignity if we were to let this matter go, but then there was a unanimous Resolution of this House that over-ruled Mr. Speaker, on a Motion which was moved by the Leader of the House, that the matter should be referred to the Committee of Privileges. The Committee, acting in our name, has come to a certain decision, and it holds the balance in this sort of thing.

It is not the job of this House to argue whether the Sunday Express will get anything out of this matter or whether Mr. Junor will be advantaged by it. It is our job to see that right is done according to our standards and not to play to the gallery, even the Press Gallery. On the balance of the evidence there has been an assault on the dignity of Parliament— using the word "dignity" in its very best sense—and on its integrity. It has been made by a man who has said, in effect, that this House of Commons is a squalid place, full of squalid people who take advantage of their privileges and who have abused their trust.

As a matter of fact, the article in question was well designed. If the constituency part of it had been taken up Mr. Junor could have separated it from the attack on hon. Members of this House. An attack made on the constituency petrol would not have the same appeal as an attack upon the 600 Members of this House.

Democracy has always gone down when it has been unjealous of its reputation. We must be jealous of our reputation in this matter. We should not be afraid of the Press. We should keep a proper relationship with the Press in which, while we respect its rights, it should equally respect ours. Only in that way can Parliament maintain its dignity and will people believe in this place as we hope we shall be believed in.

Sir Beverley Baxter (Southgate)

I want to say a word or two about this matter, because at one time I was editor of the Sunday Express—long before Mr. Junor took over. I want to make one slight defence which may or may not appeal to hon. Members opposite and to my hon. Friends. An editor is on the receiving end of every kind of news from everywhere and, after a time, almost anything seems possible and seems probable. I do not at all defend what I think was a disgraceful publication in the Sunday Express. The only question in my mind is this: to bring from Fleet Street a responsible editor—[HON. MEMBERS: "Irresponsible."] He is, at least, responsible to his proprietor—Mr. Junor is a personal friend of mine—

Mr. Jack Jones (Rotherham)

He is un-English.

Sir B. Baxter

He was a Liberal for a while, which may account for the confusion of his mind from time to time. I have had no contact with him about this matter at all, but I believe that he may have been badly advised and confused in his judgment.

To bring an editor from Fleet Street to stand in the place where he has no right to stand because he is not an elected Member of this House is, to my mind, to make something of an absurdity of the House itself. Surely, it is enough that the comments already made have censured him. He feels it very deeply indeed—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Every editor must feel the humiliation which such comments cause. The House of Commons lowers its own dignity in this rather medieval pantomime which is about to take place—

Mr. Ellis Smith

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May we have that unparliamentary phrase withdrawn?

Mr. Speaker

I think that the hon. Member for Southgate (Sir B. Baxter) has no right to describe the proceedings of this House—whether they have taken place or are in contemplation—as a medieval pantomime. The expression is lacking in that respect which every hon. Member has for this House.

Sir B. Baxter

I will withdraw the term "medieval pantomime", and substitute for it "medieval drama", Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Ellis Smith

May I ask that Mr. Speaker, in defence of the Standing Orders and Parliamentary practice, shall ask for a complete withdrawal of the implication of the phrases used?

Mr. Speaker

I think that the second phrase, although inaccurate, is not so bad as the first. Drama, after all, is an expression which does apply to many of the happenings in this House. They are sometimes dramatic. One might object to the term "medieval" as applying an undue antiquity and obsolescence; but I think that there is nothing to be ashamed of in the great age of this House and the continuity of its traditions, so I do not think that I can demand that withdrawal.

Sir B. Baxter

I think you will agree, Mr. Speaker, that as we look back with respect and dignity to the past so those who come after us—when we will be medieval some day to our followers—will take notice of what happened here. I think that the critics, fifty or seventy-five years from now, will perhaps think that we rather over-played the dignity of this House of Commons in this case. I am perfectly certain that many of my hon. Friends very much regret the inexcusable inaccuracy of what appeared in the Sunday Express. I feel very strongly about it and I think that it was a great mistake, but we overplay the matter and lower the dignity of the House in the ceremony which is about to take place.

Mr. R. A. Butler

It may help hon. Members if I intervene for a moment to explain why it has been necessary for me to move this Motion. I am helped by the words of the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman). He referred to an implicit request, or rebuke, by the Select Committee in the request that Mr. Junor be severely reprimanded. In fact, it was an explicit request and, as it was such, I have no alternative but to move that Mr. Junor should come to the Bar of the House. There is no other way in which you, Mr. Speaker, can severely reprimand Mr. Junor. Therefore, I have no alternative but to move that Motion.

The second point, following on the Report of the Committee, and in answer to the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), is this. The right hon. Member asked why we do not know what Motion will be moved. Again, I am trying to follow the traditions of the House. It has been normal, in the past, for any person so placed as Mr. Junor is to be heard. Surely it is reasonable and fair and just that he should be heard. Therefore, I would be very loath to frame a Motion before he has been heard. I have been asked by the right hon. Member and others what he will say. I might say that I have not the faintest idea of what he will say. It is up to him to make what statement he likes. All I want to do is to reserve his right to make a statement at the Bar.

I do not see that I could take any other course in answering the quite simple requests made by hon. Members but by a Motion which is freely debatable, to move the Motion and give Mr. Junor an opportunity to make a statement and, at the same time, not to finalise the final Motion until the House has heard what he has said and I, as Leader of the House, have assessed the feeling of the House.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

As one who has been Chairman of the Committee of Privileges and, for a short time, was Leader of the House, I hope that the House will be satisfied with the statement that the right hon. Gentleman has just made.

The Committee of Privileges has expressed its view that the conduct of Mr. Junor deserves a severe reprimand. If we abandon the proceedings now that opinion stands and it might very well be alleged in a few years' time that it was regarded as being so firmly expressed by the Committee of Privileges that Mr. Junor was not called here. The Committee of Privileges cannot take any action of itself beyond investigating the complaint that has been made, in this case by the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Sir C. Taylor). It then frames a Report, but that Report, if it is to be really effective, awaits the decision of the House.

In the case of many Reports, such as the one concerning the matter raised by my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis) only recently, it was felt that the apology which had been given, even if my hon. Friend has not yet received it, or the apology expressed to the Committee, was a sufficient vindication of the privileges of the House, and it was not thought necessary to delay the House by bringing the Report formally before it.

Here there is an expression from the Committee which could not be more severe, in accordance with modern practice. There is the most severe penalty that has been inflicted for a great many years. It may be that the proceedings are somewhat circumscribed on this occasion by the fact that the apparent penalties which we can inflict are so limited in scope, and that is something on which the House might very well at some time or other consider whether it should not give itself a wider range of opportunity. Unless Mr. Junor is heard, the last word in this matter will be the expression of the Committee of Privileges, and I do not think that a Committee of this House should be in the position of inflicting so great a mark of disfavour on any person without that person having been heard by the House and the House itself deciding whether the penalty is an appropriate one or not.

I therefore hope that the House will pass the Motion moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House and that, when we have heard Mr. Junor, we shall then take such steps as to the House itself shall appear appropriate for dealing with the matter.

Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)

There are just two questions that I should like to ask. I do not want to go at length into the argument between two representatives of the Press, one of whom apparently takes the view that we should not summon Mr. Junor because Mr. Junor would enjoy it too much if we did, and the other of whom takes the view that we ought not to summon Mr. Junor because he would dislike it too much. That is a different matter, which can be worked out between them.

I want a little clarification as to what is to happen. A Motion is to be proposed by the Government, and I quite understand when the Government say that they cannot be certain just what form the Motion will take, because it might be affected by a snap judgment, taken without consultation and without hearing people, which we might form on what Mr. Junor might say. That seems to me to be a little odd, but that is what the Government say. I want to be clear about this, because that judgment, without consulting the House, certainly cannot be a final one. I want it to be made quite clear that, whatever form this may take—may I ask for the right hon. Gentleman's attention?—the Government have undertaken that a Motion will be proposed by the Government which opens up the Report of the Committee of Privileges for debate.

Secondly, will it be open to us—and perhaps I should put this point to you, Mr. Speaker—to propose a manuscript Amendment, if we so desire?

Mr. Speaker

I am as much in the dark as the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) as to the Motion which will be before the House. I understand the general drift of what the hon. and learned Member is asking, and I should myself feel that it was a proper course to adopt in the proper circumstances.

Mr. Paget

I am most grateful to you, Mr. Speaker, because while, of course, Privilege generally is a matter of agreement, this would seem to be an—in my view, a very serious one—which is, in a sense, that serious state in which we find a clash of privileges—the privilege of the ancient institution and the new privileges claimed by a new estate which we have seen established.

The privileges of the Press today go vastly beyond the privileges of the individual to say or write his mind. These are expanding privileges, newly claimed—the scope of journalists within this House, where they may go, the corridors along which they may go, are expanding all the time. It is important that we should consider this matter very seriously indeed when this matter is arranged, and that it should be fully debated.

Mr. R. A. Butler rose

Mrs. Jean Mann (Coatbridge and Airdrie)

On a point of order. I should like to be clear about this. The Leader of the House has said that Mr. John Junor would come here tomorrow, and that it would be your duty, Mr. Speaker, to reprimand him. [HON. MEMBERS: "No. He did not say that."] Then why bring him here tomorrow?

Mr. Speaker

I can only act on the instructions of the House. I understood that what the right hon. Gentleman said was that, if Mr. Junor comes here tomorrow, we should hear what he has to say and the House should decide what to do about it. I shall be merely the mouthpiece of the House.

Mr. Butler

In answer to the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), we certainly should make the Motion sufficiently wide to enable the Report of the Committee to be brought up for consideration or discussion. That is essential.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved, That Mr. John Junor do attend this House Tomorrow at a quarter past Three o'clock.