Ban on reporting the proceedings of Parliament

The Grauniad reports that it is currently under a ban from reporting the proceedings of parliament - and they're not allowed to say why.

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.

Obviously, I don't know the details of the case - but the general principle is that if something goes in in parliament, that it's fair game for reporters is an important one in a parliamentary democracy. It is true that MPs operate under parliamentary privilege, and so may say something which, if said outside the chamber, would then be libellous - however, it should still be possible to report that they said it.

I can't help thinking that ultimately the muzzle will come off, and that in the end more will be made of whatever-it-was than would have been the case without muzzle.

For parliament, on the day following the re-emergence of the expenses row, this is not a good story.