British MPs praised for handling of phone hacking scandal

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Aug 20: The way British MPs dealt with the episodes surrounding the phone hacking scandal helped put Parliament at the centre stage of a "massive" matter of national importance and revived the "authority" of the House of Commons, its Speaker said.

Speaker John Bercow, who addressed the students of the Delhi University on parliamentary reforms, said that certain rules set by him for effective parliamentary democracy ensured that the episode was widely seen in the United Kingdom and elsewhere as evidence of a "revival in the authority" of the House of Commons.

"The balance between the chamber (the House of Commons) and the (Parliamentary) committee system was right. We were remorselessly topical. We were open to the outside world in what we did. I hope it will become a blueprint for how to engage in meaningful scrutiny in modern circumstances," he said.

"The questioning of leading figures at News Corporation and News International, notably Rupert and James Murdoch, took place as it should have done in a specialist select committee hearing with 11 MPs conducting the inquisition. It would not have worked in any other way," Bercow explained.

He said the consideration of what if any political responsibility the present government and its predecessor had for "supposedly appeasing" the media empire in the past took place in the chamber of the House of Commons.

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