14 January 2010
Speaking on behalf of the Opposition, Shailesh Vara supports a motion that refers an attempt to intimidate an MP over what he says in Parliament to the Committee on Standards and Privileges.

Mr. Shailesh Vara (North-West Cambridgeshire) (Con): We on the Conservative Benches also support the motion, as it clearly impacts on what Members of Parliament can say in this House. We should all be able to speak freely and without fear on any matter that arises as we carry out our duties.

For the sake of good order, however, there is one matter that I should like to clarify. The e-mail in question refers to materials that have been written and distributed outside the House. I should therefore like to make it clear that my comments are confined to what can be said in the House itself, and that Members of Parliament, like the general public, are of course subject to the normal laws of libel and slander in connection with anything that they say outside the House.

The Deputy Leader of the House will be aware that the Standards and Privileges Committee has a very heavy work load, and that it is important that the matter before us is resolved before the dissolution of Parliament. Will she assure the House that she will make sure that the Committee gets any additional support and back-up-manpower, resources and so on-that it requires? In that way, we can ensure that we resolve this very important matter before the dissolution of Parliament.

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