HC Deb 09 March 1961 vol 636 cc694-5
Mr. Thorpe

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, I raised a matter relating to an alleged breach of Privilege, and you were kind enough to indicate that you would give a Ruling on that matter today. Since then, there have been two developments of which, I respectfully suggest, the House should be informed.

The first is that I have received a letter from the editor of the Daily Express, which reached me last night, and in which, he admits that answers given by a witness appearing before the Select Committee on Estimates were mistakenly attributed to me, as a result of an alleged misunderstanding on the part of a reporter, who was transcribing the report and turning it into a newspaper article.

The editor expressed his regrets, and indicated that a full correction would appear in today's edition of the Daily Express, and that he hoped that this would go some way to removing a false impression. On page 2 of today's Daily Express there is an explanation of regret and a full explanation of what occurred.

This, of course, is entirely a matter for you and for the House. I suggested yesterday that there had been wilful misrepresentation. I would respectfully suggest, in view of this explanation, and in view of the apology, that misrepresentation there was and that it was certainly careless and possibly stupid, but not wilful.

I would, therefore, suggest that the House might take the view that, in the light of the explanation and the apology, the House might consider that it would wish to take the matter no further.

Mr. Speaker

The position is that there is no complaint before the House at the moment, and I must consider what the hon. Member says as an expression of a wish on his part, subject to others concerned, not to take the matter further. In those circumstances, I do not rule.

I think, in fairness I should say to the House that I myself received by hand last evening a letter from the editor of the newspaper corresponding with that described by the hon. Member, containing an apology and an explanation. Had circumstances required it, I would have communicated it to the House.