Letter from the Rt Hon John Morris QC
MP to the President of the Council
BRIBERY OF MPs
Thank you for your letter of 11 May.
I can see the reasoning behind the Lord Chief
Justice's recommendation that my consent should be necessary for
prosecutions of Members of Parliament under the proposed new corruption
On the other hand, his proposal would require
me to take prosecution decisions relating to Parliamentary colleagues.
That is a position neither I nor my predecessors have been in
before, because Members of Parliament are outside existing corruption
I am also aware that the Law Commission have
recommended that there should no longer be an Attorney General
consent provision for corruption cases. They are likely to repeat
that recommendation when they report shortly on the general subject
of consents to prosecution. If we accept the recommendation, I
doubt we could justify involving Law Officers where a case involves
Members of Parliament but not otherwise.
I would prefer, therefore, to suggest to the
Joint Committee that the question of consent might be deferred
until the Law Commission have reported. But I should say that
my preference at this stage would be for the decision to lie with
the Director of Public Prosecutions.
21 May 1998