Harriet Harman

Labour Member of Parliament for Camberwell & Peckham

Raising a Point of Order about Jeremy Hunt's accountability to P

Today I raised a Point of Order in the House of Commons about Jeremy Hunt MP and his accountability to Parliament as Secretary of State. You can read my Point of Order below. The Speaker responded that the accountability of a minister to the House is not suspended or diluted by outside inquiries; and if ministers are providing written documents to other inquiries, it would be a courtesy to also provide them to the House.

 

Point of Order

 

On a point of Order Mr Speaker:

 

Lord Justice Leveson is conducting a public inquiry into the media and will be calling a number of Honourable Members - including ministers - to give evidence.

 

That is an important inquiry and we await the outcome.

 

But, Mr Speaker, could you clarify that notwithstanding that the Leveson Inquiry is proceeding with its work, it remains the case that the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport is accountable to this House.

 

Will you please confirm:

·         Whether it is in order for the Secretary of State to say that he won’t answer questions from Honourable Members in this House because instead he's going to tell Lord Justice Leveson; and

·         Whether  it is in order for the Secretary of State to say he won’t place documents in the Library because he's giving them to Leveson.

 

Will you confirm that the Secretary of State's refusal to answer questions is not because he is prevented from doing so by the Leveson Inquiry - but because he doesn't want to. 

 

Of course the Secretary of State must give his evidence to Leveson whenever he is called, but surely he cannot use that as an excuse to evade his accountability to this House.

 

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