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On 21 April 2022, the House referred the question of whether the Prime Minister had misled the House through his statements on gatherings at Downing Street and Whitehall during lockdown, to the Committee of Privileges.

The Committee of Privileges issued a call for evidence on the matter on 30 June 2022. It also announced that it would appoint Sir Ernest Ryder to advise it in its inquiry. Sir Ernest undertook a review of fairness and natural justice in the House’s standards system, for the Committee on Standards.

Remit and powers of the Committee of Privileges

The remit and powers of the Committee of Privileges are set out in Standing Order No 148A.

It is appointed to “consider specific matters relating to privileges referred to it by the House”.

The Committee has the power to appoint sub-committees. Both the Committee and its sub-committees have the usual select committee powers “to send for persons, papers and records”; to sit while the House is adjourned and to appoint specialist advisers. Like the Committee on Standards, it has the explicit power to appoint legal advisers.

The Committee also has the power “to order the attendance of any Member before the committee and to require that specific documents or records in the possession of a Member relating to its inquiries be laid before the committee or any sub-committee”.


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