Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When Parliamentary Reporting is Gagged in the 21st Century #Trafigura #CarterRuck #fail

People don't normally pay much attention to written questions in the House of Commons to the Secretary of State for Justice. But when one has been fielded, after 60 others, in this the first week of the new session and the Guardian is gagged from reporting that text people are likely to sit up and notice.

Bloggers from across the political blogosphere have rallied to the issue and the Twitterverse has lit up to many uses of the #Trafigura and #CarterRuck hashtags. So suddenly instead of solicitors Carter-Ruck trying to bury the fact that their client's actions are being questioned has actually highlighted the news to masses of people who would probably never have heard or read about it normally.

As many before me have pointed out the question from Paul Farrelly MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme is being gagged despite the 1688 Bill of Rights. One which provisions is "Freedom of speech and debates; or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament".

So obviously the lawyers are merely trying in vain to prevent the reporting of events in the House of Commons, thing is they cannot impeach the answer being published in Hansard. I expect that to be the most widely reported, or directed to answer in the history of the Parliamentary record being online.

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