Was Hain Allowed to Use Parliamentary Privilege to Break Philip Green Injunction?

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…

Who Was the “Intimately Involved in the Case” Hain Leaker?

Following Friday’s revelations, Lord Hain claims that his breaching of the injunction was “in my personal capacity as an independent member of the House of Lords. I categorically state that I was completely unaware Gordon Dadds were advising the Telegraph regarding this case… Gordon Dadds, a highly respected and reputable international law firm, played absolutely no part whatsoever in either the sourcing of my information or my independent decision to name Sir Philip. They were completely unaware of my intentions until after I spoke in the House of Lords.” Guido understands Gordon Dadds were indeed furious with Hain…

What isn’t explained is how Hain could not know that the firm he advises was involved, given their name is on the front page of the widely circulated injunction to which he was referring. Is he going to claim to be incompetent again – as he did when he was forced to resign from the Cabinet?

The Telegraph’s Editor Emeritus Ian MacGregor tells Guido that, contrary to the rumour reported here on Saturday, “I did not discuss the Green case with Lord Hain. I have not spoken to him for around 5 years to the best of my recollection. I was on holiday last week and was unaware of the identity of the Claimants until revealed by Lord Hain in the House of Lords.” Guido is happy to accept his assurance.

So who did tell Hain? How independent was Hain’s “independent decision” exactly?  He said it was someone “intimately involved” in the case – it is unlikely to be a lawyer. Philip Green is livid of course, “As many people have said, Lord Hain’s blatant disregard of a judgement made by three senior judges is outrageous.” Green takes a very dim view of Hain’s financial relationship with his enemy’s law firm.

A clue to the source is perhaps that when Hain named Philip Green in the House of Lords on Thursday at 14:43, The Telegraph were the first to report the naming an impressively few minutes later. Nobody else noticed…

Hain is Paid Adviser to Telegraph’s Lawyers

Great scoop from our friends at Legal Cheek, spotting that Peter Hain is a paid adviser to Gordon Dadds, the law firm who are representing The Telegraph in their fight to overturn Philip Green’s injunctions. Now whatever your view of super-injunctions – Guido is against them – it is not a good idea for lawyers or those working for lawyers to break them. It is also a bad idea for parliamentarians to act in the clear interests of people who pay them within parliament. In fact it is against the rules. Arguably Hain has helped the firm he advises circumvent the injunction and fatally undermined its efficacy.

Hain did say when he used privilege that he had been “in contact with someone intimately involved in the case”:

Sounds like that could be a lawyer working on the case. Judges do not take kindly to this kind of shenanigans and there could be repurcussions for the Gordon Dadds firm if they are found to have conspired with Hain to breach the injunction…

UPDATE: Lord Hain has responded in a statement claiming he was “completely unaware” Gordon Dadds were advising the Telegraph:

“I took the decision to name Sir Philip Green in my personal capacity as an independent member of the House Of Lords. I categorically state that I was completely unaware Gordon Dadds were advising the Telegraph regarding this case. Gordon Dadds, a highly respected and reputable international law firm, played absolutely no part whatsoever in either the sourcing of my information or my independent decision to name Sir Philip. They were completely unaware of my intentions until after I spoke in the House of Lords”

Well, he would say that…

Moment Hain Names Philip Green as #MeToo Super-Injunction Businessman

Peter Hain has used his parliamentary privilege to name Topshop boss Sir Philip Green in the House of Lords as the businessman with a super-injunction out against a new #MeToo scandal being reported. For those who didn’t get the “gags to riches” clue in The Sun’s headline this morning…

Arise, Lord Hain of Hypocrisy

The Rt Hon. the Lord Hain, ennobled yesterday, 24 November 2015:

“I, Peter Gerald Hain, do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law.”

Peter Hain MP, a year ago, 3 November 2014:

“The Lords are an archaic anomaly which fuels disillusionment with British politics. It exists purely on a democratic deficit which has been allowed to evolve unchecked for centuries… the fact is that people are fed up with an out-of-touch political class and the growing sense that Westminster is failing us all.”

What was it about the £300-a-day allowance that changed his mind?

Hain Gravy Train Hypocrisy

On 3 November 2014, not even twelve months ago, Peter Hain told his constituents he believed the second chamber should be elected:

“The Lords are an archaic anomaly which fuels disillusionment with British politics. It exists purely on a democratic deficit which has been allowed to evolve unchecked for centuries… the fact is that people are fed up with an out-of-touch political class and the growing sense that Westminster is failing us all.”

Yesterday, he became Lord Hain of Neath, writing in the Guardian that “it wasn’t an easy decision“, it had required “considerable thought“, but he concluded that “more peers in favour of reform are crucially important“.

What was it about the £300-a-day attendance allowance that changed his mind?

Moat Cleaning Expenses Scandal MP Awarded Peerage

Douglas Hogg, the disgraced Tory minister who infamously had his moat cleaned on expenses, has been made a Lord. Hogg charged the taxpayer for having his moat cleared, piano tuned and stable lights fixed at his country manor house. He’ll fit in well in our second chamber.

Other upstanding names on the list include Peter Hain, who had to resign and faced a police investigation after he failed to declare 20 donations to his deputy leadership campaign worth a total of over £100,000.

Also there is bonking David Blunkett and a very long list of Downing Street SpAds.

A proud day for parliament…

Hain: “Labour Needs to Learn to Love Spending Again”

hain

Peter Hain’s article in today’s Guardian reads like loony left bingo. Apparently focusing on the deficit is a “suffocating neoliberal orthodoxy” created by “the Mail, Telegraph and Murdoch stables”, and of course the Tories will take “public spending back to levels not seen since the 1930s when there was no NHS or decent state school system”. Hain insists “the deficit debate is a trap” and argues “Labour needs to learn to love spending again”:

“Labour will prioritise reviving Britain’s failing recovery by scrapping austerity… We urgently need (as some economists argue) £30bn a year for two years of extra capital investment in infrastructure, housebuilding, education, skills and low-carbon industries. This would rapidly expand the economy and cut the budget deficit by boosting tax revenues as people earn and spend more, working hours rise, and fewer families need to look to the state for support. 

Yes, the shock headlines would announce: “Higher Labour borrowing early in the next parliament”. But higher public spending and borrowing on capital investment today means lower borrowing tomorrow with the economy growing and tax revenues rising.”

Best of all, Hain accuses Blairites and Tories of subscribing to “Alice in Wonderland economics”. Says the spending-addicted debt junkie…

Hain “Absolute Nonsense”

mabel

Wales Online reports that Peter Hain claims that it is “absolute nonsense” to suggest that Tracey Ullmann’s daughter Mabel McKeown is his preferred successor in the safe Labour seat of Neath. The former “Equalities Officer and Office Manager for the Office of Right Honourable Harriet Harman QC MP” is one of the front-runners to succeed him. Is it really absolute nonsense?

  • Is it absolute nonsense that McKeown shares a flat with Hain’s former SpAd?
  • Is it absolute nonsense that Hain’s constituency agent Howard Davies is running McKeown’s campaign to parachute in Mckeown?

Neutral? Nonsense…

Hain Stitching Up Seat for Carpetbagging Ex-Harman Aide

Not content with retiring to his Spanish villa, picking up a peerage and sniffing around the Leader of the Lords job, Peter Hain is trying to stitch up his seat for his chosen successor. Next week he plans to wangle the selection in Neath for Mabel McKeown, daughter of £75 million comedian Tracy Ullman. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun, Hain’s former agent Howard Davies is running McKeown’s campaign to parachute in his favourite candidate. Opponents claim she has no knowledge of Neath and no local experience since she was born in LA. Carpet-bagging former Harriet Harman aide Mabel has already lost out before for a local council seat and when she stood for the London Assembly. Christina Rees is the Unite union backed rival on the all women shortlist whom Ullman’s daughter is telling to “Move over Darling”…

Mandela On Deathbed, Peter Hain: Buy My Book!

Nelson Mandela’s family has criticised the tasteless “vultures” circling as he clings on to life in his Pretoria hospital bed. You would never find a Labour MP looking to make a quick buck from the sad situation, would you?

Peter Hain cashing in?  Whatever next…

Hain Bashes Balls

The tension from Labour’s underwhelming performance at the locals last week is boiling over. Last night Peter Hain comically denied he was firing a broadside against Ed Balls for not pulling his weight:

It was described by the Guardian as a ‘coded attack’, but now the full piece in Progress is out, the word coded looks like a massive understatement:

“Labour’s Treasury team need to get out on the stump now and work even harder. It shouldn’t just be left to Ed and Harriet to carry the heavy load, whether on the World at One, the Today programme or anywhere else.”

If that is a ‘coded attack’, then bring on the open fireworks. Ever the master of subtly, Hain is so loyal to Miliband, Guido doubts he rumbled Macavity Balls without permission. Though worth remembering the lecture is coming from someone who quit the Shadow Cabinet to make some money…

Hain's African Adventure Appointed Director at Major Mining Firm

Peter Hain’s trip to open a school in Sierra Leone last week seems to have gone well: he managed to land yet another job along the way. He’s just been appointed as a non-executive director at Amara, a major mining company that has subsidiaries in Burkina Faso, Mali and the Ivory Coast. Sounds like a nice little earner…

Peter Hain's Family Spinning Side Project

Peter Hain has spent the morning rubbing salt into Tory boundary wounds, openly gloating about a potential 11% handicap facing Tories hoping for a majority. Evidently having too much time on his hands as a mere MP, Peter Hain has just become a partner in his wife’s political PR firm. Back in 2010 Elizabeth Haywood described being the politician’s wife to the Guardian:

“Your job is open to comment, and certain roles may be off-limits (for example, I would have found it very difficult to continue in my old job as a lobbyist) or will create adverse comment.”

A politician’s wife being a lobbyist is off limits, eh? Funny then that Elizabeth’s bio on the Haywood Hain website boasts of her ability to influence ministers: “Dr Elizabeth Haywood is well versed in public affairs, media and government. She has lobbied Ministers and appeared on peak-time TV and radio”. How she might have done that Guido can only guess…

Twitter Bitch Fight of the Week: Hain v GuidoHain in Spain a Bit of a Pain

Guido is a getting a bit worried about Peter Hain. Yesterday the former Labour minister was lounging by the pool in sunny Spain and decided to pick a fight. Today he came back for more, which is never a good idea. There is not room for the whole conversation here, but this is a flavour:

The sun must have gone to his head…

Hain v Gove

Guido has always found that Peter Hain’s side of the story is never spun…

Jim Murphy, Aged 9, on Peter Hain

Terrible day. The horse was innocent.

Hain’s Raw Memoir

Guido hasn’t read Hain’s “Outside In memoir yet, though his interview in the Observer suggests that it should, to a extent generous even by the standards of political memoirs, be filed under fiction. On having to resign after being exposed for over-spending an undeclared £100,000 under-the-counter on his Labour Party deputy leadership campaign he pleads

“It was about an honest mistake and a disorganised end to the campaign and when I found out about it I told everyone. It’s quite possible that nobody would ever have found out if I hadn’t done that. And a lot of thanks I got for it.”

Not true, Hain only went to the police about it after details were published on this blog and on the front page of the Guardian. Decca Aitkenhead says in the interview that for Hain “the subject is still terribly raw”. No doubt it is, that is still no excuse for falsifying the facts.

Centre Stage Hain, Cheryl on a Train

With a disaster on his doorstep in the Swansea Valley Peter Hain, the Shadow Welsh Secretary, has been hogging the airwaves all morning. Though he is the local MP, he seems to be trying to make  capital out of the Welsh mining tragedy. Guido understands that Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan is on her way to the site from London, feeding lines to the media on the way. She’s on a train. Presumably not a fast one though…

UPDATE: Hain’s office insist he was only part of the press conference at the specific request of the police.

Hain – The Hidden Chapters

Guido is always happy to hear news of an old friend, so imagine his delight when this press release arrived earlier:

“BITEBACK is delighted to announce it will be publishing the autobiography of former Cabinet Minister Peter Hain in January 2012.

[…] Read the rest

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