SNP MP John Nicolson avoids punishment for making lefter from Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle public

SNP MP John Nicolson has avoided punishment after sharing the contents of a letter from Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle on social media.

Mr Nicolson last year posted a video where he laid out the response from the Speaker after he asked him to refer former minister Nadine Dorries to the Privileges Committee.

The digital, culture, media and sport committee had published a report into claims from Ms Dorries about a Channel 4 documentary using "paid actors" instead of members of the public, which the committee called "groundless".

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No action was subsequently taken against the former minister, who quit the Commons earlier this year.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle speaks at Chorley Theatre. Picture: Kelvin StuttardSir Lindsay Hoyle speaks at Chorley Theatre. Picture: Kelvin Stuttard
Sir Lindsay Hoyle speaks at Chorley Theatre. Picture: Kelvin Stuttard

But Mr Nicolson, the MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, was himself referred to the Privileges Committee after having made public the contents of the letter from the Speaker.

In a 61-page report published on Thursday, the committee described Mr Nicolson's actions as "highly regrettable".

"We consider that Mr Nicolson's initial action in publishing the Speaker's decision was disruptive, and we conclude that his subsequent conduct in neglecting to correct the mistaken impression he had given, or to offer a proper apology to the Speaker in good time, nearly crossed the line into being a contempt," the report said.

The report said Mr Nicolson's actions had resulted in "unjustified public pressure and abuse to be directed at the Speaker". But the report said: "In view of his candour and co-operation with the committee, and because when giving oral evidence he offered, through the medium of the committee, an apology to the Speaker, we recommend that no further action be taken."

The committee recommended steps be taken to "to improve the communication to Members of the House's expectations as to the circumstances in which private exchanges with the Speaker, particularly in relation to privilege, are to be regarded as confidential".



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