Highlights From "Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House of Commons"

Rules are a wonderful insight into the things people would do if they weren't forbidden. In this case, the "Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House of Commons"

The Basics

  • You must not "obviously devote yourself" to your phone during a debate
  • "It is discourteous to turn your back on the Chair."
  • No large badges, newspapers, singing, or chanting
  • You are now finally allowed to point out that there are people watching, but not in a way that "might intimidate or seek to influence debate"

Interrupting people

  • If you want to interrupt someone else's speech you have to have actually been there when they started speaking
  • It's not against the rules to leave immediately after interrupting someone, but it is considered 'discourteous'

Listening to other people's opinions

  • If you're going to give a speech in a parliamentary debate, you have to actually be there at the start of the debate
  • After your speech you have to listen to at least two other people's speeches before leaving
  • You also have to come back at the end

Asking questions on TV

  • You can't just ask to be involved in question time, you need to actually have something relevant to say. If you "submit generalised requests to be called" you will be ignored.
  • In particular, you can't just ask to be involved in Prime Minister's Questions. Generalised requests are considered 'counterproductive'.
  • No reading out questions you wrote down word for word. This is against the rules. It also "greatly undermines the impact".
  • If there are followup questions to your question, you can't leave until they're done.

Talking out of your arse

The privilege of freedom of speech in debate... should be exercised responsibly... You should research carefully and take advice before exercising this freedom in sensitive or individual cases

Participation

The Speaker’s Office keeps comprehensive records of Members’ success and failure in being called in debate, following ministerial statements, urgent questions and at Prime Minister’s questions. These statistics are always taken into account on subsequent occasions when deciding whom to call.
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