Place of speaking and adjustments for individual circumstances
21.6Members must speak standing. In cases of sickness or infirmity, however, speaking while seated is allowed (if necessary with a lapel microphone), including from a wheelchair.1 A Minister answering a series of questions has been permitted, on grounds of infirmity, to remain leaning on the dispatch box without resuming his seat while questions were being asked.2 A Member who had lost his voice has been allowed to remain seated while another Member asked an oral question (and supplementary) in his name on his behalf.3
When a Member wishes to raise a point of order during a division, the point of order must relate specifically to the conduct of the division, and the Member must first advise the Chair of their intention. The point of order is then raised by the Member standing in the normal way, but from a position on the second bench as close to the Chair as possible, from which they can be heard both by the Chair and by the Official Report without obstructing the movement of Members into the lobbies.4
A Member may not speak when standing before the Table5 or in the aisle,6 or from below the Bar.7 The Chair has declined to intervene when a backbench Member chose to speak at a dispatch box.8 An Opposition frontbench spokesperson will not be called to speak or intervene from the frontbench during the half-hour adjournment debate held under Standing Order No 9.9
A Member should not move place while speaking.10 No other Member should cross between the Chair and the Member speaking.11 The Chair has deprecated a Member from one side of the House speaking from the other.12 For the use by Members of the side galleries of the Chamber, see para 6.50.
- HC Deb (1919) 112, c 456; ibid (1969–70) 799, c 1681; ibid (1999–2000) 353, c 236WH; ibid (16 June 2015) 597, c 206; ibid (25 October 2016) 616, c 133; ibid (9 January 2017) 619, c 84. Question proposed by the Speaker sitting owing to illness, CJ (1866) 197.
- HC Deb (1952–53) 510, c 1999; ibid (1958–59) 596, c 1157; ibid (1994–95) 261, c 583; ibid (1996–97) 291, cc 1027–28; ibid (28 June 2016) 612, c 152.
- HC Deb (25 January 2018) 635, c 388.
- This follows agreement by the House to the Fourth Report from the Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons, HC 600 (1997–98) paras 63–65; CJ (1997–98) 596.
- HC Deb (1968–69) 765, c 893.
- HC Deb (1975–76) 918, c 1101.
- Parl Deb (1879) 246, c 1362; HC Deb (1919) 112, cc 1962–63; ibid (1919) 116, c 105; ibid (1960–61) 642, c 324.
- HC Deb (1971–72) 831, c 377; but see para 6.51.
- HC Deb (2001–02) 374, c 83.
- HC Deb (1942–43) 391, cc 2001–2; ibid (1983–84) 57, c 1171; ibid (1984–85) 79, c 1257; ibid (1989–90) 173, cc 174–75.
- HC Deb (2002–03) 407, cc 1237–38.
- HC Deb (1997–98) 313, cc 223–24.