§ Mr. Hugh Fraser
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I call your attention to an article on page 15 of today's Daily Maii which purports to report the findings of 732 your Select Committee of Privileges on your ruling regarding the appellation of my hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Lord Lambton).
I have the honour to be a member of the Committee. Our report, although approved at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, 20th June, had yesterday neither been typed as a document nor printed. Clearly, this is a gross, discourteous and, indeed, vicious breach of confidence by some Member of this House. Formally, I ask for your ruling that it is also a prima facie breach of privilege.
§ Mr. Speaker
The right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser) has raised a matter of privilege and has produced the newspaper concerned. In accordance with the practice of the House I will rule upon it tomorrow.
§ Mr. C. Pannell
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. While you are considering this matter for tomorrow, may I call your attention to the fact that on page 664 of the Votes and Proceedings of 20th June, 1972, it is reported, at item 15, that the Leader of the House had…reported from the Committee of Privileges, to whom was referred the matter of the style and title…of the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed".I call your attention to the fact that such reference has caused trouble before in the same paper, on the occasion when the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) was before a Select Committee. It arises, I think, from a confusion in the minds of the Press that it has a right to use something that appears on the Order Paper here. In this case, of course, the newspaper added what it purported to be the findings of the Committee.
I think that at the end of the day we should have some obiter dictum from you, Mr. Speaker, to the Press about the exact point at which it can publish without fear of consequences. I might say that this issue came before the Select Committee on Parliamentary Privilege. There, we stated that it was a contempt, but pointed out that there is a confusion between the two dates concerned. The mere fact that a reference to the report from the Select Committee appeared in the Votes and Proceedings would give rise to the speculation which the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser) is concerned about.
733 I would add that I, too, have the honour to be a member of the Committee of Privileges.
§ Sir Robin Turton
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. In giving your consideration to the matter, will you bear in mind paragraph 130 of the Report of the Select Committee on Parliamentary Privilege, which said that premature disclosure of proceedings should, subject to certain qualifications, be regarded as a contempt of this House?