Reference to the public

21.30Until recent times it was not in order to refer to persons in the galleries (except generally for the purpose of an order for their withdrawal),1 though it was a matter of judgement for the Chair as to whether to intervene. In 2017, the former strict rule was abrogated, the Speaker stating that such references could be permitted, but that references by Members in debate should be brief and directly related to proceedings, and should not be phrased so as to be in any way intimidating or to seek to influence debate.2


  1. 1. See HC Deb (1972–73) 847, c 454; ibid (1989–90) 167, c 627; ibid (13 February 2013) 558, c 308WH.
  2. 2. HC Deb (19 July 2017) 627, c 864. It remains not in order to refer to those sitting in the official box, see eg ibid (18 June 2009) 494, c 372.