Alexander Horne: Evidence under oath, perjury and parliamentary privilege

For those interested in implied repeals of the bill of rights

UK Constitutional Law Association

Alexander HorneThe issue of select committee powers has received renewed interest during the 2010-15 Parliament, culminating in a report from Liaison Committee on Select committee effectiveness, resources and powers (in October 2012); and, subsequently, a report by the Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege in July 2013 (and a Government response later that year).

Although parliamentary select committees are frequently described as being powerful and influential, questions have arisen about their ability both to summon witnesses and punish those who are guilty of contempt or perjury.

In relation to the latter issue, the Government’s Green Paper on Parliamentary Privilege (Cm 8318, 2012), which preceded the Joint Committee’s report, had noted that:

The Houses’ power to punish non-members for contempt is untested in recent times. In theory, both Houses can summon a person to the bar of the House to reprimand them or order a person’s imprisonment. In addition, the House of Lords…

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About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at

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