Human Rights report referred to Standard and Privileges Committee

24 February 2010

The Commons debated and passed a motion referring a Joint Human Rights Committee (JCHR) report - still in preparation - to the Commons Committee on Standards and Privileges.

Andrew Dismore MP, chairman of the JCHR, told the Commons that the Committee had met on 9 February to discuss a draft report on the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

It emerged at that meeting that Trevor Phillips, chair of EHRC, had recently spoken to at least three members of the Committee about its consideration of the draft report, and the publication of written evidence.

The JCHR considered that these discussions could constitute a contempt of both Houses in that they may have been an attempt to influence the views of certain members of the Committee shortly before it considered a draft report directly relevant to Mr Phillips in his role as chair of the Commission.

Mr Dismore tabled a motion calling for an investigation by the Committee on Standards and Privileges, which was discussed and passed by MPs.


Contempt can relate to any attempt to interfere with proceedings or to obstruct or threaten Members in the performance of their parliamentary duties. In the Commons contempts are referred to the Committee on Standards and Privileges but any decision made by the Committee must be agreed by the House.

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