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Saturday, March 16, 2013

In the public interest

The Telegraph has a quite shocking story about an attempt by an NHS Trust in England to silence an MP, who was trying to do his job by raising concerns about the deaths of two patients.

The paper says that Steve Baker was given legal advice that Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust could be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter after an elderly patient who should not have been on solids died after being given the wrong food.

However, when the MP told the trust’s chief executive Anne Eden he intended to raise the prospect of charges in a radio interview, she told him that legal action would be sought to protect the trust's reputation:

"This is a matter of public interest being raised by a Member of Parliament in good faith,” he told the Commons. 

 “But I have had to rely on (Parliamentary) privilege to protect myself from being sued on this matter.

"It is not acceptable that such a matter should have to come to a Member of Parliament simply to rely upon privilege.

If that is the case then that is shocking. No public body should be allowed to resort to the courts to prevent the proper scrutiny of its actions. Equally, an MP should not have to resort to Parliamentary privilege to raise legitimate matters of concern on behalf of his constituents.
The problems is the word
Article IX means that MPs do not have to worry about what the courts might think as to whether something is or is not legitimate when raising issues.

The NHS trust are wrong, but it is their bullying that is key.

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