23rd May 1968. I Name…MP.
Often, under a Commons Order, an MP will choose to leave the Chamber when asked by the Speaker or Deputy. Those who ‘brazen it out’ are ‘named’ and usually suspended for the rest of the day, but not before a Motion to that effect, is put to a vote.
More serious cases necessitate a longer suspension or even expulsion.
Today in 1968, Tory MP Irene Ward [Dame[ was ‘named’ and suspended from the Commons for five days after a protest in front of the Commons’ Mace, saying Parliament had become a dictatorship.
The Speaker, Dr Horace King said ‘Order’ eleven times before she was removed by the Sergeant-at Arms, she being heard to say, on the way out: ‘Do you want my right arm or left arm’?
1968 must have been a trying year, for both Mr. Speaker and his Deputy had to order, the Government Front Bench to contain itself. Mr Deputy had to ask the Leader of the Opposition twice in quick succession to sit down, but the member most frequently called to order was Andrew Faulds, Actor-MP who sat for Smethwick.
His Rebuke scoreboard was: Ordered to control himself 3 times; to contain himself 5; to contain himself or leave chamber 1; to restrain himself 1; to conduct himself properly 1; learn to behave 2; to listen to debate 1. In all 18 rebukes.
The Index of Hansard gives references to Faulds’ interjections which included: ‘shoddy little man’, ‘shocking little man’, ‘whited sepulchre’ and ‘pariah’ (addressed to Enoch Powell).
Emanuel Shinwell a fellow Labour MP suggested that ‘Whited Sepulchre’ was not unparliamentary, but reflected Faulds’ ‘lack of vocabulary’.
On the subject of asperities, Members were reminded that one can insult groups, but not individuals, so cries of ‘fascists’, hypocrites’ and ‘a bunch of traitors’ was challenged in vain. Robert Maxwell, later newspaper owner, had to withdraw ‘Quisling’; whilst Shinwell likewise had withdraw ‘British Himmler’.
Anti-monarchist Willie Hamilton referring to Enoch Powell’s speech on immigration had to withdraw a suggestion that MP.s might not want to go into the Division Lobbies soiled by Powell.
One insult by Andrew Faulds went unnoticed, when in a character assault on a Tory, he said it might have resulted from a’severe case of anal training in his youth’. It was of course a personal insult which would have been better aimed at a group!
Mace-swinging Tory, Michael Hesseltine, irate with Labour Members, then in power, on 27th May 1976 was suspended and apologized the next day.
Two later firebrands were suspended: Ian Paisley in 1993 for using the word ‘falsehood’, which in the Speaker Betty Boothroyd’s vocabulary meant ‘Lie’-a taboo word.
Refusing to remove himself he was ‘named’ and suspended for the rest of the day.
Then conviction MP, ex-miner, Dennis Skinner-‘The Beast of Bolsover’, since being elected for Bolsover, Derbyshire, in 1970, has been suspended for ‘unparliamentary language’, many times.
The last occasion was in April 2016 for calling the Prime-Minister, ‘Dodgy Dave’. Skinner has always chosen to walk.
When one sees the serried ranks of ‘zombie-like’ controlled legislatures, in dictatorships, we should be prepared to accept a bit of disorderly behaviour as part of the democratic process.
Ref: Punch Magazine. Dec. 18th 1968, article by ES Turner. ‘Mr Speaker v Mr Faulds and Others’.
Ref: Glasgow Herald, Friday, May 24th 1968.