HC Deb 14 January 2004 vol 416 cc817-8

12.30 pm

Mr. Speaker

I have a brief statement to make on a matter of privilege. Yesterday afternoon I had a meeting with, and received a letter from, the Chairman of the Constitutional Affairs Committee, the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), acting on behalf of his Committee. The right hon. Gentleman drew my attention to the report that his Committee agreed at its meeting yesterday morning. The report concerns allegations that an individual has suffered detriment as a result of the evidence that she has given to the Constitutional Affairs Committee last year. I understand that the Committee's report has now been published and is available to right hon. and hon. Members in the Vote Office.

I have considered the right hon. Gentleman's letter and his Committee report, and I have decided that they raise issues that justify me in giving precedence to a motion relating to them. Accordingly, if the right hon. Gentleman tables such a motion, it will be taken as first business tomorrow. As is customary, I do not intend to take points of order on this matter, or to allow any further discussions on this matter before it comes before the House for decisions.