HC Deb 03 December 1980 vol 995 cc275-6
Sir Albert Costain (Folkestone and Hythe)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As this is the second time in 21 years that I have raised a point of order, I hope that you will accept that I do not raise points of order lightly. I apologise for not giving you notice, Mr. Speaker, but the incident to which I wish to refer happened only this afternoon. It could have long-term consequences for the procedure of the House.

In his supplementary question on question No. 1, my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, North-West (Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler) referred to evidence given this morning in a Select Committee. I have always been under the impression that evidence given to Select Committees should not be referred to in the House before the Committee has reported to the House. The point that I raise is no reflection on my hon. Friend, but I think that the House needs a ruling on it.

Mr. Speaker

I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. As it is his second in 21 years, I hope that he is not making a habit of raising points of order.

We must guard our customs and traditions, but the House decided on 31 October That, notwithstanding the Resolution the House will not entertain any complaint of contempt of the House or breach of privilege in respect of the publication of reports of evidence given by witnesses before select committees meeting in public before such evidence shall have been reported to the House."—[Official Report, 31 October 1980, Vol. 991, c. 922.] I presume, therefore, that we now work on the basis that if we do not take action against anyone outside we shall not take action against any hon. Member inside the House. However, I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for bringing the matter to the attention of the House.