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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 696: debated on Thursday 27 May 2021

Before I call Jonathan Ashworth to ask his urgent question, I remind the House that “Erskine May” states:

“Good temper and moderation are the characteristics of parliamentary language.”

Although the context in which particular phrases are used is important, “Erskine May” also says that there are certain expressions that,

“when used in respect of other Members…are regarded with particular seriousness, generally leading to prompt intervention from the Chair and often a requirement on the Member to withdraw the words”.

One example is making a charge

“of uttering a deliberate falsehood.”

In other words, Members should not accuse other Members of lying. Depending on the context, it may well be in order to quote the views of others, but Members should not themselves state or imply that other Members are lying. There are ways that such issues can be debated in the House by means of a substantive motion, but not as part of an urgent question.