The House has directed the Speaker to make a statement at the beginning of each Session about the duties and responsibilities of hon. Members.
I begin by reminding hon. Members of their duty to observe the code of conduct agreed by the House, and to behave with civility and fairness in all their dealings. The behaviour code applies to Members as it applies to others who visit or work in Parliament, and provides clear guidance. Unacceptable behaviour will be dealt with seriously, independently and with effective sanctions.
The House asserts, colleagues, its privilege of freedom of speech. It is there to ensure that our constituents can be represented by us without fear or favour. It is an obligation upon us all to exercise that privilege responsibly. Members must be mindful of the impact of what they say not only on other Members, but on others who follow our proceedings, and Members should be heard courteously whatever their views. That privilege is enjoyed by Members of Parliament only in their work in this House; as private individuals we are equal under the law with those whom we represent.
Parliament should be open to those whom it represents. We should seek to explain its work to those who elect us, and make them welcome here. The security of this building and those who work and visit here depends upon all of us. We have a duty to be vigilant, and to assist those whose job it is to maintain this place as a safe place to work.
Before moving to the first business of the new Session, I would like to express my very best wishes for the new Session to all hon. Members and all those who work here.
A Bill for the more effectual preventing Clandestine Outlawries was read the First time, and ordered to be read a Second time.