New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: May I express my surprise to the Leader of the House [Robin Cook] that he should have chosen, on this of all days, to impugn the reliability of Mr Sixsmith when we have heard this morning that Mr Sixsmith was telling the truth when he said that he had not resigned and that the Secretary of State was not doing so when he said that he had? May we have a debate in Government time on the use and abuse of privilege in the House? In that way, right hon. and hon. Members will have an opportunity to see what recompense there is for people – whether they be sacked spin doctors or permanent secretaries of Departments who get landed with the blame – when they are impugned under the protection of parliamentary privilege by Secretaries of State who ought to shoulder the responsibility themselves and resign because of misconduct, misdemeanours and misinformation from their Department?