Page last updated at 14:36 GMT, Friday, 31 October 2008
You can't do that!

None of the following are permitted during a debate in the chamber:

No smoking

Smoking is not allowed in the chamber and has been banned since the 17th century. Members may take snuff though and the Doorkeeper keeps a snuff-box for this purpose.

No eating or drinking

Members may not eat or drink in the chamber. One exception to this is the chancellor who may have an alcoholic drink while delivering the Budget statement.

In years gone by, the Speaker used to be able to adjourn proceedings in the House in order to have a meal. This was known as the "Speaker's chop".

No Reading

Speeches may not simply be read out during debate, although notes may be referred to. Similarly, the reading of newspapers, magazines and letters is not allowed. No visual aids, such as diagrams and maps, may be used in the chamber.

Dress code

Hats must not be worn unless a point of order is being raised during a division - a fashion that has long died out - and a member may not wear any decorations or military insignia.

Members are also not allowed to have their hands in their pockets, this offence was committed by Andrew Robathan MP (Con) on December 19th 1994.

Swords may not be worn in the chamber and each MP has a loop of ribbon in the cloakroom where their weapons may be left. Nowadays the loop is more often used to hold an umbrella.

No animals

Animals are not allowed in the Commons, with the exception of guide dogs for the blind.

No names

Members may not refer to each other by name and must either refer to each other as "my honourable friend" (if a member of the same party) or "my right honourable friend" (when referring to colleagues who are members of the Privy Council)

When referring to members from other parties the address becomes "the honourable (or right honourable) lady/gentleman" or "the honourable member for... [followed by the constituency]".

No dying!

Finally, members must not die on the premises! This is because the Palace of Westminster is a royal palace where commoners may not die. Any deaths on the premises are said to have taken place at St. Thomas' Hospital - the nearest hospital to the palace.




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