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Committee of Privileges

Commons Select Committee

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.

More background on the purpose of the inquiry can be found by contacting privileges@parliament.uk

Committee news

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Privileges Committee publish report setting out processes and procedures for inquiry on Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
The Committee of Privileges has publishes a report setting out in detail a number of procedures and processes that will underpin how it will investigate the matter referred to it by the House on 21 April 2022, concerning the conduct of the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP.
21 July 2022
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Privileges Committee progress inquiry as they call for documents from Mr Johnson and No 10
The Committee of Privileges Chair wrote to Mr Johnson and the Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case, requesting documents relating to the Committee’s inquiry
15 July 2022
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Privileges Committee call for evidence in inquiry into Boris Johnson
The Committee of Privileges issues a call for evidence relating to the matter referred to it by the House on 21 April 2022
30 June 2022
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Privileges Committee publish further report on select committee powers following consultation
Committee of Privileges sets out revised proposals
16 June 2022
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Privileges Committee to hear from Members of both Houses on select committee powers
Committee to hear from Members of both Houses on select committee powers
29 November 2021
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Constitution and legal experts questioned on select committee powers
Committee of Privileges discuss its proposals to strengthen select committee powers
22 October 2021
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Privileges Committee publish key report on select committee powers
The Committee of Privileges report considers how the House can address the issue of the enforcement of select committee powers
2 May 2021
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Select Committees and Contempts - Chair’s thoughts for 2021
Committee of Privileges publishes article from the House magazine’s 2021 Guide to Select Committees
22 January 2021
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New chair appointed and inquiry into select committees and contempts resumed
Chris Bryant MP is new Chair of the Committee and resumes inquiry on select committees and contempts
1 June 2020
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General Election 2019
Following the Dissolution of Parliament on 6 November 2019, all select committees have ceased to exist
6 November 2019
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Committee of Privileges membership at the end of Parliament 2017-19
View the membership of the Committee at the end of 2017-19 Parliament
5 November 2019
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Evidence session cancelled
Evidence session on the exercise and enforcement of the powers of the House in relation to select committees and contempt cancelled
31 October 2019
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Committee of Privileges inquiry: Select committees and contempts
Committee of Privileges takes evidence on select committees and contempts inquiry
18 October 2019
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Committee looks into Select Committee powers and contempt of Parliament
Committee of Privileges questions John Benger, Mark Hutton, Chris Bryant and Sir Bernard Jenkin MPs
5 July 2019
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Session cancelled - Oral evidence session on select committees and contempt of Parliament
Oral Evidence sessions in Privileges Committee inquiry into select committees and contempt of Parliament
21 June 2019
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Inquiry into select committees and contempt of Parliament resumed
Committee of Privileges resumes inquiry into select committees and contempts
21 May 2019
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Privileges Committee membership agreed
Committee agrees its membership for 2017 Parliament
31 October 2017
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Committee of Privileges membership at the end of Parliament 2015-17
View the membership of the Committee at the end of 2015-17 Parliament
3 May 2017
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General Election 2017 - Committee of Privileges
Following the Dissolution of Parliament on 3 May 2017, all select committees have ceased to exist
3 May 2017
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The powers of select committees and contempt examined
Committee of Privileges inquiry into the exercise and enforcement of the powers of select committees
7 March 2017
Total results 24 (page 1 of 2)