Role - Committee of Privileges
The Committee of Privileges is appointed to consider specific matters relating to privileges referred to it by the House.
About the Committee
The Committee has a cross-party membership of seven backbench members. The number of seats each party has is calculated to reflect the membership of the House as a whole. When considering a matter referred to it by the House, the Committee has regular private meetings and may also hold public evidence sessions, details of which can be found on the Committee's events page.
The Committee was established under Standing Order No. 148A.
Work of the Committee
The Committee of Privileges is tasked with the investigation of potential contempts and breaches of privilege, as well as considering wider matters relating to parliamentary privilege from time to time, as instructed by the House. The Committee can only consider matters referred to it by the House of Commons as a whole. It reports to the House its conclusions on whether a contempt or a breach of privileges has occurred and its recommendations on any sanctions – final decisions on these matters also have to be taken by the House as a whole.
The Committee of Privileges is separate from the Committee on Standards. From 1995, when the present Commons Standards system was established, there was a single Standards and Privileges Committee, but the two were split in January 2013 to allow the Committee on Standards to include independent lay members (non-MPs) in their proceedings.
The two committees have had overlapping MP membership but different remits. While Privileges is concerned with issues of parliamentary privilege (when referred to it by the House), the Standards Committee is primarily concerned with the MPs’ Code of Conduct and the Commons standards system more generally, including the work of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
You can find out more about the remit and powers of the Committee of Privileges, as well as its recent history, in this House of Commons Library Briefing.
If you have any comments or questions about our work, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for taking the time to find out more about the Committee of Privileges.
Image: UK Parliamentary/Tyler Allicock