HL Deb 02 May 1977 vol 382 cc805-7

3 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to draw to your Lordships' attention what would appear to be a breach of the privileges of your Lordships' House. The Duke of Montrose, a Peer of Parliament, appears to have been obstructed and denied access to this country, and therefore to Parliament during the Session of Parliament. Under Standing Order No. 22 the Duke of Montrose is deemed to have leave of absence and that would limit what he could do if he came here to giving 28 days' notice of an intention on applying to this House to withdraw his leave. But that does not seem to me to affect the principle here. It is a principle of Parliament that we should have the right to the attendance of our Members and to such advice as they can give us, and that to obstruct or deny access to Parliament of a Member of the other place or of a Peer of this House during the Session of Parliament is a grave breach of our privileges.

The LORD PRIVY SEAL (Lord Peart)

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Paget, has raised an important question concerning the privileges of this House. This is not a matter on which the House would expect an immediate answer. With the leave of the House I propose to take it away and look into the matter. When I have taken advice I shall be able to give the House a considered opinion.


My Lords, I would not wish to comment on that because we shall listen to what the Leader of the House has to say when he comes back. I would ask him whether he would speak to his colleague in the Foreign Office or the Home Office who is responsible for this ban on the Duke of Montrose, and perhaps suggest to him that it seems to be a little odd in the light of the numbers of people we had visiting this country last year, and apparently there are some rather strange people who may come this year.


My Lords, the noble Lord has mentioned an important matter. Of course I shall take that into account.


My Lords, while my noble friend is doing that will he look at the position which may arise if that noble Duke is allowed in, so far as rebellion against Her Majesty is concerned and indeed the crime of treason?


My Lords, as I have said, I shall look into this matter and then I shall make a Statement to the House.


My Lords, would the noble Lord the Leader of the House agree that the Duke of Montrose fought against Hitler in the last war, and stood as a barrier against communism in Africa? May I say that, in 45 years in this House.this is the most disgraceful case of double standards that I have come across.


My Lords, may I just—


My Lords, a lot of us fought against Hitler, but that is not the issue. I have said that this is a matter that has to be considered as privilege.


My Lords, I was seeking guidance of the Leader of the House. Seeing that we were getting into a debate and there did not appear to be a Motion before the House, it would seem to me not only abuse of the Rules of your Lordships' House but also abuse of the matter which the noble Lord the Leader of the House has undertaken to look at.