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General requirement for moderate language

21.21Good temper and moderation are the characteristics of parliamentary language. Parliamentary language is never more desirable than when a Member is canvassing the opinions and conduct of their opponents in debate.1 The Speaker will accordingly intervene in such cases and will also intervene in respect of other abusive and insulting language of a nature likely to create disorder. The Speaker has said in this connection that whether a word should be regarded as unparliamentary depends on the context in which it is used.2 Expressions will equally draw an intervention from the Chair when based on a quotation from elsewhere.3


  1. 1. The Speaker has indicated that the requirement for good temper and moderation includes ‘good taste’, HC Deb (19 January 2012) 538, c 907; see also ibid (11 December 2018) 651, c 225. For earlier practices with regard to words of heat and challenges, see Erskine May (19th edn, 1976), pp 430–31.
  2. 2. 2 HC Deb (1983–84) 61, cc 307–9; ibid (24 November 2015) 602, c 1224.
  3. 3. HC Deb (1948–49) 469, c 72; ibid (1975–76) 902, c 345; ibid (1986–87) 113, c 895; ibid (2002–03) 406, cc 131–32; ibid (12 July 2007) 462, c 1715.