The Speaker’s Ruling on Afghan Detainee Documents: The Last Hurrah for Parliamentary Privilege?

Heather MacIvor


On 3 January 1642 the Commons sat, and claimed a breach of privilege which, deliberately or not, incited the king to attempt force. On 4 January [King Charles I] entered the Chamber, leaving the door open so that members could see the troops "making much of their pistols." ... He asked the Speaker if the five [rebel MPs] were present. Lenthall, on his knees, spoke. "May it please Your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see, nor tongue to speak in this place, but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here; and I humbly beg Your Majesty’s pardon that I cannot give any other answer than this to what Your Majesty is pleased to demand of me."

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