Page last updated at 12:02 GMT, Friday, 31 October 2008

Unparliamentary language

It is expected that the proceedings of Parliament will be conducted in a courteous and good tempered manner.

Criticism and accusations are permitted (often under the cover of parliamentary privilege) but certain types of language are considered too abusive.

MPs should not:

  • call another member a liar
  • suggest another MP has false motives
  • describe another member as "drunk"
  • misrepresent another MP's language
  • use abusive or insulting language.

If an MP uses unparliamentary language during debates the speaker will ask the member concerned to withdraw what has been said.

Terms of abuse that have been ruled as out of order include coward, hooligan, rat and traitor.

If an MP refuses the Speaker may "name" them, meaning that the member will be asked to leave the House and is suspended for five sitting days.

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