HC Deb 19 October 1994 vol 248 c281

Mr. Denis MacShane accordingly presented a Bill to fix the emoluments of chairpersons, chief executives and senior managers of private limited companies and public bodies so that their combined annual earnings do not exceed twenty times the average take-home pay of their non-managerial employees save if the said employees agree through a ballot of their non-managerial employees or through their union to permit salaries of their chairpersons, chief executives and senior managers to exceed a 20:1 ratio: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time upon Friday 21 October, and to be printed. [Bill 163.]

Mr. Michael Shersby (Uxbridge)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. The hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. MacShane) referred in his speech introducing his Maximum Wage Bill to "this Government of sleaze". Similar comments were made during the previous remarks of the hon. Member for Blyth Valley (Mr. Campbell). Is it in order for Members of Parliament constantly to use that expression? To talk of a "Government of sleaze" is not only bad for the House of Commons, but I question whether it is in accordance with parliamentary convention and the best principles of the House.

Madam Speaker

It is in order to criticise Governments in that general way, but it is certainly not in order to criticise individual Members. However, I am pleased that the hon. Gentleman has raised the matter with me. I remind the House of the wise words of "Erskine May": Good temper and moderation are the characteristics of parliamentary language. We might all remember that at all times, however high our tempers might rise on occasions.