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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9118


Mr SECKER (BarkerOpposition Whip) (15:18): by leave—I support the words of the Chair of the Privileges and Members' Interests Committee; she has summarised the report quite extensively and I have very little to add. I will raise the issue of appendix B to the report. Paragraph (1) says:

A committee concerning which a complaint of unauthorised disclosure or publication has been made must consider whether the matter has caused substantial interference with its work …

I think the words 'substantial interference' are always going to lead to a problem of definition—is something substantial or not? I suspect this issue might not fall on that, but, again, that is open to argument. I believe we also have a problem in appendix C, subparagraph (1)(e)(i), which states:

In considering complaints in this area and notwithstanding the provisions of standing order 51, the Speaker should not allow precedence to a motion on such a matter unless, in the light of the information presented to the Speaker, he or she is of the opinion:

(i) that there is sufficient evidence that will enable the Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests to ascertain the source or sources of the disclosure(s);

We have found through this process that that is almost impossible, and that may need looking at by the Procedure Committee in the future. In almost every case that will erase the possibility of precedents being given to the motion.