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Parliamentary Conduct

Volume 115: debated on Thursday 30 April 1987

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4.12 pm

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. My concern is for the honour of hon. Members and for the way in which our business is conducted. For that reason I turn to you, Mr. Speaker, as the protector and custodian in such matters. I should like to raise the matter of an occurrence during business questions.

You will know, Mr. Speaker, that the microphones are switched on in specific locations, depending on the hon. Member who is on his feet. Within the immediate location of a live microphone an hon. Member from a sedentary position used the first name of a very prominent and internationally known member of a party of which I am not a member, and was heard to attribute to that name the epithet "mass murderer". Is such a practice in order? That remark might be broadcast on newscasts later today. If that is in order, can you tell me, Mr. Speaker, whether I am allowed to use the first name of the Member who made the allegation and call him a liar?

I do not know whether the hon. Member for Stockton, North (Mr. Cook) is referring to the episode about the President of Austria.

No. If it was a reference to an hon. Member of this House, it was totally out of order. These microphones are tuned into my Chair. I hear clearly the hon. Member who has been called to speak, because that is the object of the microphones. I frequently do not hear things that are said at the far end of the Chamber, and perhaps that is just as well. I certainly deprecate any epithet of that kind from any hon. Member.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would it be right for me to ask you, as custodian and protector of the honour of the House, to ask the hon. Member to withdraw that statement? [Interruption.]

Order. I can hardly believe that an hon. Member would use a phrase of that kind.

Statutory Instruments &C

Ordered,

That the Teesside Development Corporation (Area and Constitution) Order 1987 be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c. — [Mr. Lightbown.]