The Committee of Privileges is appointed to consider specific matters relating to privileges referred to it by the House. The scope of any inquiry comprises all matters relevant to the matter referred.
The Committee of Privileges currently has two matters referred to it:
On 27 October 2016 the House ordered that “the exercise and enforcement of the powers of the House in relation to select committees and contempts” be referred to the Committee. The Committee’s inquiry is assessing different options for enforcing the House’s powers to summon witnesses and call for production of documents. This includes reviewing the House’s available sanctions in cases of non-compliance by witnesses and other contempts. The Committee published a report making proposals for consultation on 3 May 2021, and published a further report making its final recommendations to the House on 16 June 2022.
On 21 April 2022 the House agreed the following Resolution:
“That this House:
(1) notes that, given the issue of fixed penalty notices by the police in relation to events in 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, assertions the Rt hon Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip has made on the floor of the House about the legality of activities in 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office under Covid regulations, including but not limited to the following answers given at Prime Minister’s Questions: 1 December 2021, that “all guidance was followed in No. 10”, Official Report vol. 704, col. 909; 8 December 2021 that “I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken”, Official Report vol. 705, col. 372; 8 December 2021 that “I am sickened myself and furious about that, but I repeat what I have said to him: I have been repeatedly assured that the rules were not broken”, Official Report vol. 705, col. 372 and 8 December 2021 that “the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times”, Official Report vol. 705, col. 379, appear to amount to misleading the House; and
(2) orders that this matter be referred to the Committee of Privileges to consider whether the Rt hon Member’s conduct amounted to a contempt of the House, but that the Committee shall not begin substantive consideration of the matter until the inquiries currently being conducted by the Metropolitan Police have been concluded (referred by the House on 21 April 2022).
The Committee will make an announcement about its handling of this matter in due course.