John Bercow: best of Hansard

(in progress…)

January 2013

Mr Speaker: «Order. Mr Ellis, you are a distinguished practising barrister. You would not have behaved like that in the courts; do not behave like that in this Chamber. Calm yourself and be quiet – learn it man!» [30/01/2013]

December 2013

Mr Speaker: Order. Mr Blenkinsop, you are yelling across the Chamber. Be quiet. Calm yourself. Take up yoga. [11/12/2013]

January 2014

Mr Speaker: «Order. Mr Robertson: calm yourself, man. The lion must get back in its den.» [29/01/2014]

February 2014

Mr Speaker: «Order. Mr Gove, you really are a very over-excitable individual. You need to write out 1,000 times “I will behave myself at Prime Minister’s questions”.» [05/02/2014]
Mr Speaker: «Order. Mr Ruane, you are an incorrigible delinquent at times. Behave yourself man.» [05/02/2014]

April 2014

The Prime Minister: «…I do not know what Labour are paying him — »
Mr Speaker: «Order.»
The Prime Minister: «I have not finished — » [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker: «In response to that question, the Prime Minister has finished, and he can take it from me that he has finished.»
[30/04/2014]

May 2016

Mr Speaker: «Order. There is a certain amount of chirruping from the Treasury Bench and elsewhere on this matter, and I simply make two points. It is entirely for the Government to decide which Minister to field, but I say gently to the Secretary of State, and to the Deputy Leader of the House, that to sit on the Bench rather than to participate while these matters are debated, is one thing — particularly in the case of the Secretary of State — but to sit there fiddling ostentatiously with an electronic device defies the established convention of the House that such devices should be used without impairing parliamentary decorum. They are impairing parliamentary decorum, and in very simple terms the Secretary of State and the Deputy Leader of the House are being rank discourteous to the shadow Secretary of State and to the House. It is a point so blindingly obvious that only an extraordinarily clever and sophisticated person could fail to grasp it.»
Heidi Alexander: «Thank you, Mr Speaker. This is not the first time that the Health Secretary has chosen not to respond to debates that I have secured or questions that I have put.» [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker: «Order. I say to the Deputy Leader of the House: put the device away. If you do not want to put it away, get out of the Chamber. It is rude for the — [Interruption.] Order! I am not inviting a response from the hon. Lady. [Interruption.] Order! I am simply telling her that it is discourteous to behave like that — a point that most people would readily understand.» [04/05/2016 — H609.189] Video:
Mr Speaker: «Order. We now come to an urgent question to be asked by Mr Bernard Jenkin. Not here. Where is the fella?»
Hon. Members: «Brussels.»
Mr Speaker: «I find it very hard to believe that the hon. Gentleman is in Brussels. [Interruption.] Order. Given that I have granted the hon. Gentleman’s application for an urgent question, it is a considerable discourtesy for him not to be here at once. He should have been in the Chamber. This must not happen again. The hon. Gentleman is a very serious and conscientious parliamentarian. If you put a question in, man — be here. Let us hear it. I am sorry to be annoyed, but I am annoyed, because the House’s interests are involved. This is not just about the hon. Gentleman; it is about all the other Members who have bothered to be here on time and about the interests of the House. The Minister was here well in time, which is good, and the shadow Minister has toddled in — the hon. Member for Wolverhampton South West (Rob Marris) beetled into the Chamber just in time. Let us hear from the hon. Member for Harwich and North Essex (Mr Jenkin).» [23/05/2016] Video:

October 2016

Mr Speaker: «Order. Mr MacNeil, you are an exceptionally boisterous fellow, and in the course of your boisterous behaviour appear to be chewing some sort of gum. It is very eccentric conduct. I have great aspirations for you to be a statesman, but your apprenticeship still has some distance to travel.» [12/10/2016] Video:

December 2016

Chris Skidmore: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising the excellent debate that took place in the other place on 5 December, in which 61 noble Members took part over six hours. It was clear that there was a consensus among all political parties, as there is a consensus among all political parties in this House, that the size of the Lords is an issue that will have to be addressed. Our manifesto commitment set out very clearly that it was not a priority. When it comes to the boundary changes, our manifesto commitment to reduce the number of constituencies from 650 to 600 is critical as it will save £66 million across a Parliament and, crucially, equalise constituencies that for decades have remained unequal.
Mr Speaker: I do not think anyone is concerned about the size of Lords, but possibly they are about the size of the House of Lords. It is quite important to be accurate about these matters.
[14/12/2016 – H618.777]

January 2017

Mr Speaker: I hope that the hon. Lady will not take offence – she has vast experience in this field – if I say that her questions must be judged to be rhetorical, because I did not observe any question marks, although I am sure we will in future.
Mr Dennis Skinner (Bolsover) (Lab): You were handy at that.
Mr Speaker: Yes, but that was then, and this is now. That was when I was a badly behaved Back Bencher like the hon. Gentleman.
[09/01/2017 – H619.42]
Mr Speaker: Order. There is far too much noise. I must say to the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Paula Sherriff) that if she were behaving like this in another public place she would probably be subject to an antisocial behaviour order. [11/01/2017 – H619.311] Video:
Mr Speaker: I know that the hon. Gentleman has secured election to the Women and Equalities Committee – although he was the only candidate, so his election was not very burdensome. But he should not worry; he will never be overlooked. We will get to him.
[…]
Mr Speaker: I simply do not wish to wait any longer. The voice of Shipley must be heard.
Philip Davies: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for highlighting the fact that my nomination for membership of the Women and Equalities Committee was so popular that nobody wanted to oppose me. […]
[12/01/2016 – H619.416]
Mr Hayes: Like Cicero, we believe that the good of the people is the chief law, so it is for public wellbeing that we want to see low emissions from all types of vehicles. Just yesterday, I announced the results of the low emission freight and logistics trial, which will see the Government providing no less than £24 million to help place about 300 low and zero-emission vehicles into commercial fleets across the UK.
Mr Speaker: One rather wonders whether the results of the trial were communicated to the right hon. Gentleman’s hero, Cicero.
[12/01/2017 – H619.450]
Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab): First, may I wish you a happy Kiss a Ginger Day, Mr Speaker? [Laughter.] I am sure you can look it up! […]
Mr Speaker: This Kiss a Ginger activity is probably perfectly lawful but I have no plans to partake of it myself. It strikes me as a very rum business altogether; as colleagues can probably tell, I have not the slightest idea about what the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) was prating, so the matter had to be Googled for me.
[12/01/2017 – H619.470] Video:
Sir Desmond Swayne (New Forest West) (Con): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Momentarily, I felt moved to be charitable. I always thought that when I addressed the Chair, I was addressing the House – and, if I may say so, my pleasure in so doing is magnified when I address the Chair and you, Sir, are occupying it. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker: Well! My cup runneth over. To be complimented by a parliamentarian of the repute of the right hon. Gentleman really does cause me, for the rest of the day, to go about my business with an additional glint in my eye and a spring in my step.
Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab): And two inches taller.
Mr Speaker: And possibly two inches taller. I am a happy man indeed. I have always liked the right hon. Member for New Forest West (Sir Desmond Swayne), in the 20 years I have known him, and I like him even more now.
Chris Bryant: Eleanor is not going to call him. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker: I think the hon. Gentleman had better watch himself a little bit with the Deputy Speakers in the coming days.
[12/01/2017 – H619.488]
Mr Speaker: In my usual way I have been, as I think the House would acknowledge, extremely generous to the hon. Gentleman. He has asked a most interesting question, and he has delivered it with his usual eloquence, but it does suffer from one disadvantage, which is that it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the statement made by the Secretary of State. Nevertheless, I have indulged the hon. Gentleman, and he can thank me on a daily basis.
[17/01/2017 – H619.780]
Mr Speaker: At this Scotland Office questions, I am pleased to inform the House that I have just been notified that Andy Murray has won his second round match in Melbourne.
[18/01/2017 – H619.926]
Mr Speaker: Order. Members of the Scottish National party, led by the right hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson) on the Front Bench, who is supposed to be a statesmanlike figure, should demonstrate some calm and reserve while they are being answered by the Prime Minister.
[18/01/2017 – H619.932]
Mr Speaker: Order. Mr Docherty-Hughes, you are a very curious denizen of the House. I had you down as a cerebral and academic type, but you are becoming increasingly hysterical – very curious behaviour.
[18/01/2017 – H619.924]
Mr Speaker: Order. I gently remind the hon. Member for Banbury (Victoria Prentis), who nodded sagely at me to denote her interest in this matter, that on the whole it is prudent to stand, as the Speaker has many qualities but is not psychic.
[23/01/2017 – H620.11]
Mr John Spellar (Warley) (Lab): There is no doubt about why the hon. Member for North East Somerset (Mr Rees-Mogg) wanted this to be held in private. It was not to keep our secrets from the Russians, but to save the embarrassment of Ministers and the Prime Minister. In Talleyrand’s words: “It’s worse than a crime, it’s a mistake.”
Mr Speaker: Order. I have known the right hon. Gentleman long enough to know of his naturally pugnacious and combative spirit, but that must not elide into impugning the integrity of another hon. Member. He has had his bit of fun, but he must now wash out his mouth, withdraw those words and put a question, for which the nation will be grateful.
[23/01/2017 – H620.27]
Mr Speaker: Order. The Government Whip, the hon. Member for Hexham (Guy Opperman), should not shout out. He should not shout from a sedentary position, and he should not shout out while standing up. If he will forgive my saying so, to shout out while standing right next to the Speaker’s Chair is perhaps not quite the most intelligent action that he has undertaken in the course, so far, of a most auspicious career. [25/01/2017 – H620.310]