JOHN Nicolson has avoided any punishment for breaking obscure parliamentary rules which ultimately saw “abuse to be directed at the Speaker” Lindsay Hoyle.

The SNP MP broke Commons rules which prohibit the publication of correspondence between members and the Speaker.

He was referred to Parliament’s standards watchdog after publishing a letter he received from Hoyle about former culture secretary Nadine Dorries to the Privileges Committee.

This breach of the rules saw the Speaker upbraid Nicolson in front of the Commons in November last year.

A report by the Privileges Committee into the Perthshire MP’s conduct was published on Thursday morning and found that while Nicolson broke the rules, he should face no further punishment.

The committee found Nicolson’s conduct “highly regrettable” because it called into question the Speaker’s “impartiality”.

It also said he made the offence worse by showing “intransigence in refusing to accept he had actually been at fault” which the committee said had “caused unjustified public pressure and abuse to be directed at the Speaker”.

READ MORE: Commons treatment of my colleague John Nicolson was unedifyingly ugly

Nicolson’s “subsequent conduct in neglecting to correct the mistaken impression he had given, or to offer a proper apology to the Speaker in good time, nearly crossed the line into being a contempt,” the report added.

But it said his “candour and co-operation with the committee” as well as his apology to the Speaker should spare him from further punishment.

Earlier in its report, the committee also noted that while parliamentary convention dictates correspondence with the Speaker be kept private, this rule is obscure and not widely known among MPs.

The report noted: “The house operates on a basis of precedent, but members at large are not likely to be aware of decisions from 1977 or rulings from the 1980s, set out in a footnote to Erskine May or held in the files of the Journal Office, unless their attention is specifically drawn to them or to the rules or conventions based on them.

“We have no reason to think that Mr Nicolson and other members were being insincere when they said they were not aware of the expectation in regard to confidentiality over raising matters of privilege.

“More could be done to communicate these matters, particularly at the point at which members engage with the Speaker or the house authorities over a privilege issue.”

The committee also suggested the Speaker should try to make this rule clearer in his correspondence.

As well as being told off by the Speaker in the Commons, Nicolson was also the subject of a debate over his conduct.