13 November 2013
Speaker writes to court over libel case
Parliamentary speaker John Bercow has written a letter to the Court of Appeal outlining the importance of freedom of speech in the the Houses of Parliament.
There is currently a case going through the legal system involving libel allegations against former FA chairman Lord Triesman, who is said to have made defamatory comments about Dato Worawi Makudi, head of the Thai football federation.
But while in the general public the man may have been liable for these statements, the long-standing tradition of parliamentary privilege means that accusations he allegedly made in the House of Parliament are not eligible for libel action.
The Court of Appeal will now consider whether parliamentary privilege is still viable in today's global environment, but Speaker Bercow said: "The possible implications [of banning the rules] give me cause for grave concern."
Judges will publish their verdict in the coming weeks. The trial continues.
Posted by Francesca Witney