Select Committee on Home Affairs First Special Report

Special Report

1. Copies of the Chairman's draft Report on the Government's Counter-Terrorism Proposals were distributed to members of the Home Affairs Committee and Committee staff on the morning of 4 December. On 5 December a description of the contents of the draft, together with accurate quotations from it, appeared in an article in the Financial Times written by Jimmy Burns. At this stage, we had not considered the draft Report.

2. At our meeting on 6 December, when we were due to consider the draft for the first time, we launched an internal investigation into the circumstances of the leak, which involved writing to everyone who had received a copy of the draft or had had access to the draft electronically. However, we were unable to discover how the leak came about. The relevant correspondence is set out in the Appendices to this Report.

3. In accordance with the procedure laid down by the House,[1] we invited the Liaison Committee to give its views. The Liaison Committee concluded that the leak of the draft Report did represent a substantial interference with our work.[2]

4. We agreed the Report on the counter-terrorism proposals on 11 December and have subsequently published it. However, we consider that the leak and publication of the most sensitive parts of the Report made it difficult, and might have rendered it impossible, to reach agreement on the Report. As a result, we believe it to represent a substantial interference with the work of the Committee, and we are making this Special Report so that the matter may be placed before the Committee on Standards and Privileges.

1   CJ (1985-86) 252, following a recommendation by the Privileges Committee (Second Report, Session 1984-85, HC 555) Back

2   Letter to Liaison Committee and reply Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2008
Prepared 7 April 2008