Peter Hain has heavily defended his use of Parliamentary Privilege to name Philip Green as the businessman behind the injunction against the Telegraph. But was he even allowed to do so?
Under a resolution on Parliamentary Privilege which the House of Lords adopted on 11 May 2000, Peers cannot use their Parliamentary Privilege to refer to any cases which are currently Sub judice – i.e. undergoing active legal proceedings – unless they have secured the approval of the Lords Speaker to do so at least 24 hours in advance. It also stipulates that “the exercise of the Speaker’s discretion may not be challenged in the House.” Did Hain seek formal approval from Lord Fowler in advance?
Additionally, the resolution sets out that the Lords Speaker should only grant permission for the Sub judice rule to be waived when, in their opinion, “a case concerns national importance such as the economy, public order or the essential services”. It may have covered the front pages but it is hard to argue that the Green case fell into any of these categories…
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