Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report

Annex IV18

Letter to Mrs R Gresty from the Chairman of the Committee on Standards and Privileges

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has shown me a copy of your husband's letter to her of 8 November about the communication you had received from David Price Solicitors & Advocates.

I was disturbed to learn that you felt threatened as a result of what has happened. I can assure you that the House regards any evidence given to the Commissioner for the purposes of her inquiries into complaints against Members of Parliament as proceedings in Parliament which are fully protected by parliamentary privilege. Any attempt to put pressure on a witness in connection with evidence would be a contempt of the House. I have no doubt that the Committee would act if any action were taken against a witness as a result of evidence given to the Commissioner.

I should nonetheless make it clear that parliamentary privilege does not cover material which has already found its way into the press, or any civil disputes which may arise as a result.

I hope that with this reassurance you will feel able to continue to assist the Commissioner with her inquiries.

12 November 2001

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