Lord Pannick’s just had all 22 pages of his legal advice on the Privileges Committee published by the Cabinet Office. While Guido’s flicking through it, you don’t have to get past paragraph three for some explosive opinions. Pannick writes that, were decisions by the Committee able to be subjected to judicial review, he believes a court would declare Harman’s approach to be “unlawful“. Pannick says there are six “important areas where the Committee is proposing to adopt a fundamentally flawed approach”:
Pannick warns in paragraph 44 that the effect of a ruling against Boris by the committee would make Ministers “less willing to try to be helpful in answering comments and questions during debate if they know that inadvertent mistakes which mislead the House amount to a contempt.”
“Ministers would be far more likely to respond: “I will write to the Hon. Member”. Such a development would impede the effective conduct of the business of the House.”
He continues in paragraph 45 that the Committee’s “novel approach” would threaten the very concept of Parliamentary privilege and “fetter the rights and liberties of Parliament”.
Read the opinion in full: