Asperity of speech

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25.77Standing Order No 31 directs ‘that all personal, sharp, or taxing speeches be forborn’ in the House; and that if any offence be given of that kind, the House ‘will sharply censure the offender’.1 When debate becomes heated, it is open to any Member of the Lords to move that the Standing Order be read by the Clerk.2 The motion is debatable.3


  1. 1. Mirror of Parliament (1833) iii, 2855. See also LJ (1666–75) 31.
  2. 2. LJ (1997–98) 644.
  3. 3. In order to prevent quarrels in debate between Members, SO No 32 provides that a Member of the Lords who conceives themselves ‘to have received any affront or injury’ from another Member of the House within the precincts of the House ‘shall appeal to the Lords in Parliament for his reparation’; or shall, if he or she declines the justice of the House and instead occasion or entertain quarrels, undergo the severe censure of the House: Earls of Peterborough and Orford and Earl Rivers, LJ (1696–1701) 378. This principle, which is now of historic interest only, has been extended to the prevention of quarrels which have arisen outside the House, LJ (1779–83) 188–91.