Modes of address to other Members

21.25In order to guard against all appearance of personality in debate, no Member other than the occupant of the Chair should refer to another by name. Each Member must be distinguished by the office they hold, by the place they represent or by other designations, as ‘the Leader of the Opposition’, ‘the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs’, ‘the (right) honourable gentleman the Member for York’, or ‘the honourable and learned Member who has just sat down’ or, when speaking of a member of the same party, ‘my (right) honourable friend the Member for …’.1 Former practices of referring to QCs as ‘learned’ and to Members who have served in the armed forces as ‘gallant’ are no longer widely used.2


  1. 1. Ed J T Rutt Diary of Thomas Burton, Member in the Parliaments of Oliver and Richard Cromwell (1828) iii, p 141. Mr Berkeley was called to order, 20 March 1860, for referring to Members by name, as having spoken, in former sessions, against the ballot, Parl Deb (1860) 157, c 939. The same rule applies to public bill and other general committees, HC Deb (1919) 118, cc 1823–24. The practice was strongly endorsed by the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons, Fourth Report, HC 600 (1997–98) para 37. However, the former convention that a Member who has not taken their seat should not be referred to by name has now been superseded, eg HC Deb (1997–98) 305, cc 1100, 1156; ibid (1999–2000) 340, c 258.
  2. 2. HC Deb (24 November 2014) 588, cc 645–48. See Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons, Fourth Report of Session 1997–98, Conduct in the Chamber, HC 600, para 40.