Libel Brought On By Thailand FA Official Case Threatens Free Speech In Westminster
Speaker of the Commons John Bercow has voiced “grave concerns” about a libel case being brought by an int'l football exec which "threatens to undermine three centuries of 'Parliamentary privilege,'" according to Jim Pickard of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Thailand FA General Secretary Worawi Makudi "is suing Lord Triesman, the former chairman of the Football Association." The peer "had accused him of corruption while giving evidence to MPs." Under Parliamentary privilege -- designed to encourage free speech in Westminster -- "anyone speaking in Parliament has legal immunity against offences including libel and contempt of court." Bercow said on Monday that "he had followed the issue very closely and the possible implications were of enormous concern." Bercow told the House of Commons, "I consider these matters to be of such import to this house and its members and for the protection of free speech in our proceedings, that written submissions have been made to the court on my behalf by Speaker’s Council" (FT, 11/12).