New Members (maiden speeches)

21.9A new Member who has not previously spoken is generally given some priority over other Members seeking to speak in the debate to make their ‘maiden’ speech.1 A Member subsequently returned for a different constituency cannot claim the privilege for a second time.2

It has been a custom of the House, but not an absolute rule, that new Members do not participate in proceedings in the Chamber (for example, by asking a question) before making their maiden speech.3 New Members are now advised that whether to observe the custom is a matter of choice for them. They might choose to wait to make a traditional maiden speech before speaking at all in the Chamber or Westminster Hall; ask questions and intervene on speeches without losing the opportunity to make a traditional maiden speech; or participate fully in proceedings in the Chamber or Westminster Hall without seeking to make a traditional maiden speech.4

Footnotes

  1. But this privilege is not conceded unless claimed within the Parliament to which the Member was first returned, Parl Deb (1859) 153, c 839.
  2. For example, see HC Deb (1979–80) 982, cc 254–59.
  3. HC Deb (2001–02) 370, c 392.
  4. Maiden speeches: guidance for new Members, Commons Briefing Note No 2, June 2017.