Harman Unfit for Quasi-Judicial Privileges Committee Chairmanship

Guido’s already covered the irony-come-hypocrisy of Labour appointing Harriet Harman – a woman who herself received multiple Fixed Penalty Notices as a minister – to lead the investigation into whether Boris misled the house. Christopher Hope reckons she might be a poor pick for natural justice reasons. The chair vacancy originally arose when Chris Bryant acknowledged that, given he’d already made a number of anti-Boris statements in the media and the committee’s findings would have been completely compromised:

“However, it is also important that the House be seen to proceed fairly without any imputation of unfairness and that the whole House have confidence in the Committee of Privilege’s proceedings.”

It’s now emerged his replacement, Harman, has not been neutral on the question up until this point either. She has tweeted her views relating to allegations around the PM’s truthfulness, with one saying “If PM and CX admit guilt, accepting that police right that they breached regs, then they are also admitting that they misled the House of Commons”. You wouldn’t favour your chances going to trial if the judge was on the record with such levels of preconceived bias…

Yesterday in the Commons, Andrew Murrison asked Michael Ellis whether he agreed “that those placed in a position of judgment over others must not have a previously stated position on the matter in question”. The Cabinet Office minister replied:

“It is, of course, an age-old principle of natural justice that no person should be a judge in their own court.

Where an individual has given a view on the guilt or innocence of any person, they ought not to then sit in judgment on that person. I know that point he is referring to, and I have no doubt that the right honourable lady will consider that.”

It seems to be yet another own goal by Labour, mind-made-up Harman’s appointment totally undermines the impartiality of the privileges committee investigation…

mdi-timer 17 June 2022 @ 09:11 17 Jun 2022 @ 09:11 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Labour to Appoint FPN-Loving Harman to Lead Investigation into Boris

Labour is set to appoint ex-Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman to chair Parliament’s Privileges Committee investigation into whether the PM misled the Commons over Partygate. The vacancy was created when Chris Bryant stepped down because he didn’t want the investigation to look biased. Guido’s not sure whether any Tory in the country is going to accept Harman’s judgements as politically neutral…

If Labour goes ahead with the bizarre appointment, not only will the PM be judged by someone equally as biased as Bryant, having called for the PM to quit, it’ll be one of the few Labour MPs who’s racked up more Fixed Penalty Notices than Boris. As Guido pointed out when Harman accused the PM of breaking the laws he made, she was charged with three speeding offences during her time as a minister…

It may not matter either way: the Telegraph reports some believe even if found guilty the PM could avoid a by-election, given the 2015 legislation only applies to suspensions handed out by the Standards Committee – not the Privileges Committee. The greased piglet won’t stop wriggling…

mdi-timer 26 May 2022 @ 17:14 26 May 2022 @ 17:14 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments