HC Deb 13 April 1967 vol 744 cc1383-4
Sir Knox Cunningham

On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that I could not give you notice of this point of order.

I understand that in the past, when information has been given to a private Committee of the House in the precincts and has been subsequently published to the Press, the House has considered that to be a breach of privilege.

From what has arisen at Question Time today it would seem that this is exactly what is to happen. May I ask you to state, Sir, whether, in your view, there is a question of privilege here?

Mr. Speaker

I am not certain that the premise the hon. and learned Gentleman advances has any validity whatever. I am of the opinion that information as to what has happened at private meetings upstairs has managed somehow to appear in the national Press from time to time without the Press being brought to the House for breach of privilege. I will certainly look into the matter that the hon. and learned Gentleman has raised, to see whether the Prime Minister has been guilty of breach of privilege in the suggestion that he has made.

Mr. C. Pannell

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. When a matter is raised in this enigmatic fashion, with great respect is it a private conversation between the Member concerned and Mr. Speaker, or should the House be let into the secret of what it is all about?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. and learned Member for Antrim, South (Sir Knox Cunningham) usually addresses me with complete clarity. I thought that the House, the right hon Gentleman and Mr. Speaker understood what the question was and what the answer was. I am so sorry if neither the hon. and learned Gentleman nor myself made the issue clear to the House, but I thought that we had.