HC Deb 18 December 2001 vol 377 c147 3.31 pm
Mr. David Wilshire (Spelthorne)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, of which I have given you notice. I want to clarify a point about this afternoon's debate on the motion on the facilities of the House.

Some years ago, I referred to Mr. Gerry Adams as the dishonourable Member for Belfast, West. The then Deputy Speaker ruled that such unparliamentary language was permissible because our rules protect only Members who have taken the Oath or affirmed. Will you confirm that the ruling continues to apply? Although I accept the need for moderate language in an emotional debate such as this afternoon's, is it still in order to describe someone who has not affirmed or taken the Oath as a supporter of terrorism or to refer to any other unpleasant facts that the evidence suggests?

Mr. Speaker

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising that point of order, which gives me the opportunity to remind the House of the wise words of "Erskine May": Good temper and moderation are the characteristics of parliamentary language. I recognise that strong feelings exist on the issue, but let us conduct our debate in a civilised manner. The Chair will not tolerate unparliamentary language or behaviour.