Unparliamentary Expressions

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th June 1984.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Tony Banks Mr Tony Banks , Newham North West 12:00 am, 6th June 1984

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wish to refer back to your earlier ruling on the use of the word "Fascist". I am not 100 per cent. sure whether you intend to permit the continued use of the word, or whether it will depend on the context in which it is employed. I should point out that the Prime Minister used the word during Prime Minister's Question Time on 8 December 1983. In column 467 of the Official Report she referred to the nature of "the Fascist Left." One of the problems is that the Official Report uses a capital "F" for Fascist, whereas if it used the lower case for it, and treated it as an adjective, it would fit in with the correct readings given by my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) of the interpretations used in both Chambers and the Oxford dictionary.

For some reason, the 20th edition of "Erskine May" omits the appendix of unparliamentary expressions. Perhaps it might be in order at some stage, Mr. Speaker, for you to look through the list in the 19th edition to see whether some of the words still considered unparliamentary could be loosened for more regular usage. For example, I was referred to as a "hooligan" by a Conservative Member. Frankly, knowing the hon. Gentleman who used the expression, I felt that it was something of a compliment. Nevertheless, it appears in the 19th edition of "Erskine May" as being unparliamentary, as do "humbug" and "Pharisee". I would cheerfully call Conservative Members Pharisees if I thought that they would be in any way insulted. But perhaps, Mr. Speaker, you will look at the 19th edition of "Erskine May".