Minor breaches of order

21.43The House has agreed that ‘the Speaker should inform a Member who has failed to observe the courtesies of debate that he or she need not expect to get priority in being called to speak’.1 When any Member transgresses the rules of debate, otherwise than by using disorderly or unparliamentary expressions, or makes any noise or disturbance while another Member is speaking, or commits any other breach of order or decorum not amounting to grossly disorderly conduct, it is the duty of the Speaker, if judging the occasion to demand it, to intervene and call the Member to order, or direct them to resume their seat.2 If the Member persists in the disorderly conduct it becomes the duty of the Speaker to take the action set forth in Standing Order No 43 in respect of grossly disorderly conduct.

The Speaker has also on occasion directed Members to withdraw from the Chamber without invoking the powers of Standing Order No 43; this informal power allows an appropriately serious response without – if the Member concerned complies – involving any of the further sanctions that might follow from the use of the formal power.3


  1. 1. On the recommendation of the former Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons: Fourth Report of Session 1997–98, HC 600, para 49; CJ (1997–98) 596.
  2. 2. HC Deb (1975–76) 918, c 1409.
  3. 3. HC Deb (1981–82) 18, c 251; ibid (1981–82) 19, cc 295–96, 367; ibid (1984–85) 73, c 1217; ibid (1999–2000) 356, c 150.