The Guardian has been prevented from reporting parliamentary proceedings on legal grounds which appear to call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1688 Bill of Rights.
Today’s published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.
The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented – for the first time in memory – from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret.
Guido, naturally, is being rather braver than The Guardian. However, The Guardian is appealing the gagging order. It's important for freedom of speech that they win.
UPDATE: It's apparently all to do with THIS story about a UK oil company and its activities in the Ivory Coast. I was also interested to read this analysis on Next Left...
To veer off at a tangent, for some reason, that short report reminded me that I was rather impressed by some more extensive reporting which the same David Leigh of the Guardian undertook over the oil company Trafigura's shocking oil spillage in the Ivory Coast, over which the company was widely report to have recently decided to offer a £30 million settlement to 31,000 people affected. I recall that it was an interesting story because of the way the newspaper worked closely with Newsnight
I found it offered considerably more for the reader to get one's teeth into than another Guardian report over Barclays tax affairs, where a gagging order led to several documents being removed from the internet, in theory and no doubt in practice too.
Meanwhile, Guido Fawkes is among those playing the favourite backbencher in Hansard game, flagging up a rather good question from Paul Farrelly MP, of Newcastle under Lyme, and a very good man, as I recall from briefly overlapping with him as colleagues at The Observer where he was City Editor prior to be elected to Parliament in 2001.
His guess, and your guess, are certainly as good as or better than mine. But barking randomly up various trees has its limits.
So I would be rather heavily in favour of The Guardian getting the provisions of the 1688 Bill of Rights back in place so we might also find out the news of what our Parliamentary representatives are discussing on our behalf. on some excellent investigative digging.
Perhaps other bloggers might care to highlight this subject on their own blogs.