A chat with a colleague yesterday about the useless idiots who stormed the Commons chamber the other day raised a few interesting questions to which I don’t know the answers. So here goes, just in case anyone can supply anything either more accurate or more entertaining, as I haven’t seen this discussed in the newspapers (not that I’ve really been reading the newspapers, except to giggle at the Dailies Mail and Telegraph on the day after the fox-hunting debate).
Under standard accounts of parliamentary privilege / the Bill of Rights, etc., can anyone have jurisdiction as to what goes on on the floor of the House of Commons apart from the members of the Commons themselves? Can Peter Hain and/or the Speaker hand this matter over to the Metropolitan Police, on the grounds that these guys weren’t really MPs, or will the Commons have to try this case themselves? And if they did, would they get to vote on the important matters of (i) whether to lock them up and then also (ii) whether to throw away the key?
(With the return of impeachment to the Commons, or not, as the case may be, it’s fun to see the long neglected quasi-judicial function of the legislature returning to public consciousness…)
And does any of this have anything to do with the custom whereby MPs can’t actually die in the Commons chamber, but have to do their dying elsewhere? I forget the reason for that one, but vaguely remember that it was entertaining, and/or rooted in constitutional tradition.