The Parliamentary Ethics Committee delivered a report stating that the conversation of six MPs recorded in the so-called Klaustur Scandal should not be considered a private conversation, RÚV reports. The committee furthermore stated that the MPs conduct is a matter of public interest. The report was mistakenly made public on the Icelandic parliament’s website, prompting complaints from the four Centre Party MPs on the recording. It has since been taken down.
A violation of privacy?
The nation reacted in shock last November when a recording of six MPs from the Centre and People’s Parties revealed them making sexist, ableist, and homophobic remarks about their colleagues at Klaustur Bar in downtown Reykjavík. The event has since come to be known as the Klaustur Scandal. Four Centre Party MPs who were part of the conversation maintain the recording was a violation of their privacy. The Ethics Committee’s recent report contradicts that statement.
The report, which is no longer available on the Icelandic Parliament’s website, stated that MPs are public figures and their conversation took place in a public place and is connected to topics that have been prominent in public discourse. “Since the conduct concerns the public, the events in question will not be considered as a private conversation,” the report asserts. The committee made clear, however, that it has not assessed whether the conversation constituted a breach of ethics.
The four Centre Party MPs on the recording protested that the statement was published before the deadline for sending in objections had passed. They stated furthermore that “the assessment of the Ethics Committee was based on incorrect assumptions,” and that laws and principles of fair procedure have been repeatedly violated in the handling of the case.
The Office of Parliament asked RÚV to take down the article about the Ethics Committee’s report, which RÚV declined to do, stating that the information was of concern to the public. Vísir has also reported on the statement.