THE FOOTBALLER AT the centre of the gagging order over an alleged affair with Big Brother star Imogen Thomas was named today in the House of Commons as Ryan Giggs.
A Liberal Democrat MP, John Hemmings, used his parliamentary privilege to identify the Manchester United star, saying 75,000 people had already outed him on Twitter.
He added that it would be ‘impracticable’ to imprison everyone on the website who had previously tweeted his name.
The Speaker of the House, John Bercow, leapt out of his seat after Hemmings said the footballer’s name. He named the Welsh midfielder just minutes after the High Court refused to lift the ban.
Bercow said: “Let me just say to the honourable gentleman, I know he’s already done it, but occasions such as this are occasions for raising the issues of principle involved, not seeking to flout for whatever purpose.”
Hemming responded: “The question is what the Government’s view is on an enforceability of a law that clearly doesn’t have public consent.”
It’s likely there will now be a fresh court hearing on the injunction.
The player was also partially named on BBC Radio 4′s influential morning news show Today, when a guest discussing the topic blurted out the footballer’s first name.
Mentions of the player’s name spiked yesterday upon publication of his picture on the front page of a Scottish newspaper.
News organisations - including most lately the BBC - are now reporting the news that Giggs has been identified in Westminster.
Lawyers were cautious, the Guardian reports, because although parliamentary privilege gives journalists the right to report what is said in parliament, it is a “qualified privilege”.
This means that it applies to reports that are fair and accurate, published without malice and on a matter of public interest.
In the House of Commons, Attorney General Dominic Grieve said a new committee will be set up to look at the use of gagging orders.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson faces the press tomorrow ahead of the club’s Champions League final with Barcelona on Saturday.