HC Deb 18 July 1974 vol 877 cc673-4
Mr. Speaker

I have now to rule on the complaint made yesterday by the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Tyler).

My ruling is that I consider that the matter of the complaint made by the hon. Member relating to a communication which he had received from the Secretary to a branch of the National Union of Journalists is such that I would permit a motion relating to it to be given precedence over the Orders of the Day.

However, I should inform the House that I have today received a letter from the General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists in the following terms: I learned yesterday from Mr. Tyler's statement in the House of Commons that Mr. George Findlay, a member of the National Union of Journalists, had made complaints to our Glasgow Freelance Branch against other members of the NUJ who are Members of Parliament. I was not aware of the complaints until Mr. Tyler made his statement. The rules of the NUJ make provision for a member complaining against another about a trades union or professional grievance. They provide a fair complaints and appeal procedure. I have never known them invoked in a matter touching the Parliamentary rights and duties of a member of the Union who is a Member of Parliament. They were not designed for that purpose, and I made clear yesterday that in my view any attempt to use them for that purpose was extremely ill advised. On my advice Mr. Findlay last night withdrew his complaint against Mr. Tyler and other Members of Parliament. I ask you to accept my assurance on behalf of the Union, its branch, and Mr. Findlay that the complaints have been withdrawn. I should be grateful, too. if you would accept my apology on behalf of the Union for you and your House having been troubled with this matter, and for any apparent offence by the National Union of Journalists to your, Mr. Tyler's or Parliament's dignity and powers. No such offence was intended. I have given these assurances and apology to Mr. Tyler by telephone and by a copy of this letter.

Mr. Tyler

I have received a copy of this letter and fully accept for myself the apology and the withdrawal. I hope that other hon. Members involved in this affair will be able to do so as well. I hope that you, Mr. Speaker, and the House will agree that as our privileges have now been re-asserted the matter can be left and no immediate action need be taken.

Mr. Speaker

I hope that in those circumstances the House will decide to leave the matter there.

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