Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 16:58 UK

Points of Order

When the House of Commons meets, it is the responsibility of the Speaker to keep the House in order and to make sure members do not break the rules of debate.

A to Z: Points of Order

If a Member of Parliament feels that another member has broken these rules they are permitted to interrupt the debate by rising from their seat and saying: "Point of Order, Mister Speaker!"

The member then explains their reasons for believing the rules of the House have been broken and the Speaker must decide whether the MP has a valid point of order or not.

The Speaker's decision cannot be challenged.

The devolved institutions in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have all adopted similar procedures on points of order.

History

MPs wishing to raise a point of order during a division were required to wear a hat so that they can be more easily seen by the Speaker when other MPs are crowding into the Chamber to cast their votes.

Two collapsible, black opera hats were kept in the Commons Chamber at all times for this purpose.

This practice is now deemed old-fashioned, and MPs merely move nearer to the Speaker to make their Point of Order.



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