Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 15:23 UK

Forms of address

During debates in Parliament, MPs and peers do not refer to each other by name but by a variety of formal titles according to their status.

This polite tone is adopted in an attempt to maintain order and good humour during debates.

In addition, parliamentarians do not address each other directly in debates.

Instead, MPs direct their points to the Commons Speaker and peers speak to the House of Lords as a whole.

Most MPs are referred to as "the Honourable Member for..." followed by the name of their constituency or as either "the Honourable gentleman" or "the Honourable lady".

If the MP being addressed is a member of the same party they are referred to as "my Honourable friend".

If the MP is a practising lawyer he or she is referred to as "Honourable and Learned".

If a member is a past or present member of the armed forces they may be addressed as "Honourable and Gallant", although this is very rarely used in the Commons nowadays.

"Right Honourable" indicates a member of the Privy Council - normally a past or present minister.

In the House of Lords, peers refer to each other as "my Noble friend", "the Noble Lord", "the Noble and Gallant Lord", or "the Noble and Learned Lord".

Peers are more likely to refer to members of other parties or groups as "friend" if they are friends in a real sense, even though this is not strictly correct parliamentary language while in the chamber.

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