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Session cancelled - Oral evidence session on select committees and contempt of Parliament

21 June 2019

The meeting on 26 June 2019 has been cancelled. The meeting will be rescheduled in the near future. Further details will be announced on this website.

The House of Commons Committee of Privileges is to take evidence from Dr John Benger, Clerk of the House of Commons, and Mark Hutton, Clerk of the Journals, on Wednesday 26 June from 09.15am, as part of the Committee's inquiry into “the exercise and enforcement of the powers of the House in relation to select committees and contempts”.

This matter was originally referred to the Committee by the House on 27 October 2016. The Committee took a range of written evidence prior to the General Election of 2017; this is available on its website. It includes a memorandum by the then Clerk of the House (Sir David Natzler KCB) setting out three options for the House: to do nothing, to reassert the House's existing powers by amending Standing Orders or by Resolution, or to legislate to provide a statutory regime.

In 2018 the Committee consulted the Liaison Committee, which comprises the chairs of select committees. While that committee was unable to reach an agreed position on this matter, its Chair (Dr Sarah Wollaston MP) wrote to the Privileges Committee setting out the discussions among the committee chairs, appending two submissions which present contrasting views from Sir Bernard Jenkin MP, Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, and Chris Bryant MP, Chair of the Finance Committee. This written evidence has also been published on the Privileges Committee website.

The inquiry was suspended for the duration of the separate inquiry into an alleged contempt by Mr Dominic Cummings arising from his failure to obey orders of the House and of a select committee to attend a committee hearing. (The Committee reported on this on 27 March 2019 and the House has subsequently admonished Mr Cummings by formal resolution.)

The following oral evidence session has been arranged:

Wednesday 26 June in Committee Room 6, Palace of Westminster, at 09.15am

  • Dr John Benger, Clerk of the House of Commons
  • Mark Hutton, Clerk of the Journals, House of Commons

Further information

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