Julian today raised a Point of Order in the House of Commons on the Guardian’s refusal to say whether it sent details of British security service personnel overseas following fresh media reports on the issue.
Mr Smith said:
“On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Guardian newspaper has constantly denied sending details of UK intelligence agents overseas, particularly to The New York Times, and yet, this weekend, The New York Times published highly specific information regarding UK intelligence teams operating in the Middle East. Is it in order, Mr Speaker, for a national newspaper constantly to refuse to answer questions from the House and to threaten the security of our constituents in that way?”
In response, the Speaker of the House of Commons said:
“I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman both for the fact of his point of order and for advance notice of his intention to raise it with me. However, the issue he has raised, though of seminal importance, is not an issue of procedure with which the Chair can deal. The hon. Gentleman is drawing attention to what he believes to be, and what I think I can probably best describe as, an equivocation by The Guardian. That is a matter he must pursue by other means. I know that he has already led a well attended debate on the subject in Westminster Hall. He may well wish to try to continue that debate by other means. He is well aware of the location of the Table Office in the House, and he is a dextrous user of parliamentary procedure. We will leave it there for today.”