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That the Standing Orders be amended as follows:—
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I rise to seek your guidance on what is acceptable parliamentary language when referring to another Member. Earlier today, Lembit Öpik was referred to in a manner that many people would consider gratuitously nasty. That demeans the reputation of this House, is not appreciated by our constituents and does not contribute to debate. What reassurance can you give us that you will not tolerate such language in future?
I do my best to ensure temperate language in the House at all times. Obviously, I need the co-operation of every hon. Member, and such co-operation is not always the case. But I shall look at the record and write to the hon. Gentleman to see what we can do.
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I fully understand the level of stress that Mr. Skinner must feel as he observes from directly across the Floor Liberal Democrats in ever-increasing numbers. May I suggest through you that, for the sake of his health and everyone's safety, he be asked to sit somewhere else?
Now then, I am very interested in this wonderful Tory-Liberal pact. I have been waiting years for it and now it has burst out. What a funny crowd they are. Get to bed. [Laughter.]
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I seek your guidance on, and protection from, impersonation of Members of this House? It has been drawn to my attention that in the Strangers' Cafeteria book, it has been alleged that "Bob Russell" made derogatory comments about Fair Trade chocolate and urged Members to eat Mars bars instead. [Laughter.]
Normally, such a bit of jesting would be all right, but I believe that there was malicious intent. The information was conveyed to the London Evening Standard, which regrettably did not check the story. It has attributed to me comments that I take seriously. I support the Fair Trade industry and any suggestion that I do not is derogatory to me. I therefore seek your guidance, Mr. Speaker.
Order. The hon. Gentleman has explained his concerns to the House. It is, of course, not a point that the Chair can rule on. I suggest that the hon. Gentleman contact the director of catering services and the Chairman of the Catering Committee to ask them to investigate this very serious matter.