Defending Parliamentary Privilege

I’ve noticed this, frankly, staggering report in  The Guardian

The Guardian has been prevented from reporting parliamentary proceedings on legal grounds which appear to call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1688 Bill of Rights.

Today’s published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.

The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented – for the first time in memory – from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret.

The only fact the Guardian can report is that the case involves the London solicitors Carter-Ruck, who specialise in suing the media for clients, who include individuals or global corporations.

You fucking what?

So, all of a sudden, lawyers can prevent matters placed on the record during the course of parliamentary proceedings from being reported by the media, can they?

No, they fucking well can’t!

Questions for Oral or Written Answer beginning on Tuesday 13 October 2009

61. Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura. (293006).

For the avoidance of doubt, The Ministry of Truth is published in the United States of America under the protection of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

22 thoughts on “Defending Parliamentary Privilege

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  10. For the avoidance of doubt, The Ministry of Truth is published in the United States of America under the protection of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
    Actually, no. Your host is Fasthosts; fasthosts are not only based in the UK, they are the quickest to cave in when threatened with any kind of legal action (see Craig Murray’s story on this topic). So for legal definition your blog is hosted in the United Kingdom and therefore has no right to free speech when faced with the might of Peter Carter-Fuck.

    Just saying.

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  12. So for legal definition your blog is hosted in the United Kingdom and therefore has no right to free speech when faced with the might of Peter Carter-Fuck, who’s been worm food since 2003.

    Fixed that for you.

    Actually, come to think of it, not sure any self respecting worm would touch the old goat.

  13. No, Spartacus, my blog is hosted in the United States and therefore protected, under the First Amendment and s230 of the Communications Decency Act, from attempts to force the remove of content by way of threats directed towards my webhost.

    I can still be sued for libel in the UK, but then under our abomination of an libel law, so can anyone regardless of where they are in the world or where their blog is actually hosted.

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