HL Deb 04 May 1888 vol 325 c1347

asked the Lord Chancellor to what extent witnesses testifying on oath before Select Committees of the House were protected, as there had been some misapprehension and confusion in the public mind upon the point?


said, that it was as well that it should be understood that absolute and perfect protection was given to witnesses examined before Select Committees in both Houses of Parliament. Apart from the privileges of the House, that had been held for a great number of years to be the law in our Courts of Justice. Witnesses giving evidence upon oath were only liable to be indicted for perjury in the event of their giving false testimony, and no action or other legal proceedings could be brought against them in respect of the evidence given by them. In that, and in the other House of Parliament, the protection given to witnesses was even more perfect, because the power existed, and it had not been allowed to slumber, but had been exercised over and over again, of summoning persons who were guilty of such a breach of privilege as bringing an action against such a witness and of committing them to the custody of the proper officers of the House. House adjourned at half past Six o'clock, to Monday next, a quarter before Eleven o'clock.