Abuse of privilege

This week's Newry Democrat (apologies for the lack of a link)reports that Newry Estate Agent has challenged Ian Paisley to repeat remarks made in the House of Commons in a public sphere without the safeguard of parliamentary privilege. Mr Paisley made allegations that Mr. John Collins was involved in a VAT fraud scheme, a charge which Mr. Collins vehemently denies.

I believe that this system of privilege is archaic and out dated and should be abolished. It is disgraceful that Mr. Paisley can make such wild accusations without those on the receiving end having recourse to the laws of libel. This is not the first time Mr. Paisley has acted in such a manner. He has previously used the Commons to made allegations of IRA membership against individuals and indeed in the late 1980s a Sinn Féin councillor was murdered after previously having been named by Mr. Paisley in such a manner.

If MPs do not have the guts to make statements in public, they should keep their mouths shut.

No comments: