MPs rally to Hemming’s cause over “intimidating” solicitor’s letter

LDV reported on Wednesday that Lib Dem MP for birmingham Yardley John Hemming had been granted an emergency Commons motion to debate what he termed an “intimidating” email received from a firm of solicitors Withers LLP.

A brief update, courtesy of the BBC report:

MPs have rallied round one of their number who said he was being “intimidated” and prevented from exercising his right to freedom of speech in the Commons by a firm of solicitors.

On 14 January 2010, they backed a request from Liberal Democrat John Hemming to refer the matter to Committee on Standards and Privileges, who will now investigate. A motion debated by MPs “called attention” to Mr Hemming’s complaint that Withers LLP had “committed a contempt of the House by seeking to intimidate a Member in his parliamentary conduct”.

Mr Hemming referred to an e-mail sent to him by Withers threatening legal action against him over allegations he made about a building development in his constituency. … Mr Hemming’s motion was backed by the government, as well as the Tory and Liberal Democrat front benches. MPs then referred the complaint to the committee without a vote.

Full report, together with a 10-minute video of the debate, can be found at the BBC Democracy Live site here.

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One Comment

  • Albert. M. Bankment 16th Jan '10 - 3:14pm

    Mr Hemming (and, indeed, everyone who values the independence of Parliament) should, in the regularly repeated words of ‘Private Eye’, refer the egregious Messrs Withers to the celebrated reply given in the case of Arkell v Pressdram (1971).

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