Conduct of Mr Dominic Cummings Contents

Annex: Resolution on process

At its meeting on 17 July 2018 the Committee of Privileges approved the following Resolution.

Resolved, That the Committee notes that the House has decided “its penal jurisdiction should be exercised (a) as sparingly as possible and (b) only when the House is satisfied that to exercise it is essential in order to provide reasonable protection for the House, its Members or its officers, from such improper obstruction or attempt at or threat of obstruction as is causing, or is likely to cause, substantial interference with the performance of their respective functions.22

The Committee will not recommend that the House exercise any power of committal to prison in the matter of privilege referred to it on 28 June 2018.

Should the Committee find any allegations arising from the matter of privilege referred to it on 28 June 2018 to be proved, the maximum penalty it will recommend the House to impose is admonishment.

The Committee will conduct its inquiry into the matter of privilege referred to it on 28 June 2018 according to the procedure set out below.

Stage 1 – written evidence

1.The Committee will write to Mr Cummings inviting him to make a submission explaining why he did not comply with the Order of the House of 7 June 2018.

2.The Committee may seek evidence from other witnesses, and may explore issues raised by Mr Cummings in writing with those witnesses or other relevant parties.

Stage 2 – oral evidence

3.The Committee may offer witnesses or other relevant parties the opportunity to give oral evidence, as it thinks fit, and may invite oral evidence from any person at any stage.

4.The Committee will offer Mr Cummings the opportunity to give oral evidence, if he so wishes.

5.At evidence sessions, Mr Cummings, other witnesses and other relevant parties may be accompanied by a legal or other adviser, and may take advice from them, but shall answer in person.

6.All transcripts will be made available to Mr Cummings and to witnesses and other relevant parties.

7.The Committee will invite final submissions from Mr Cummings and may, if necessary, seek further evidence, either oral or in writing.

Stage 3 – Determination

8.If the Committee intends to criticise Mr Cummings it will first send a warning letter, and such a letter will:

a)state what the criticism is;

b)contain a statement of the facts that the Committee considers substantiates the criticism, and

c)refer to any evidence which supports those facts.

9.The Committee will expect to receive a response to such a warning letter within 14 days.

10.The Committee will consider a response to such a warning letter before reporting to the House.

11.The Committee will report to the House.

General

12.When considering allegations against Mr Cummings, the Committee will apply the same standard of proof as applied to allegations against Members, as set out in the Procedural Note of 24 April 2012 from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.23

13.Requests for information shall be made in writing.

14.Submissions to the Committee shall be made in writing to the Clerk of the Committee of Privileges, Journal Office, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.

15.Responses received from witnesses or other relevant parties will be shared with Mr Cummings.

16.If Mr Cummings wishes to be supported by a legal or other adviser, the details of that adviser must be notified to the Committee.

17.The expectation is that oral evidence will be taken in public, in the interests of openness. It will not be broadcast. The Committee will consider requests to take such evidence in private, and rule on them.

18.Evidence submitted to the Committee (oral or written) is to be held in confidence until such time as the Committee orders or gives permission for its publication, save that Mr Cummings and witnesses or other relevant parties may disclose it to any adviser or legal representative notified to the Committee. Where evidence is given in public the transcripts will be published as quickly as possible, and may be referred to.

19.The cost of legal representation will be borne by the clients of any legal representatives, not the Committee.


22 See Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice, 24th ed., p 218, Third Report from the Committee of Privileges, Session 1976–77, Recommendations of the Select Committee on Parliamentary Privilege, HC 417, and the Resolution of the House, 6 February 1978.

23 “When considering allegations against Members, the Commissioner and the Committee normally require allegations to be proved on the balance of probabilities, namely, that they are more likely than not to be true. Where the Commissioner and the Committee deem the allegations to be sufficiently serious, a higher standard of proof will be applied, namely, that the allegations are significantly more likely than not to be true.”




Published: 27 March 2019