i spy strangers

March 10, 2009 at 12:01 am Leave a comment

speakerbbc
The House of Commons nowadays allows members of the public to be present at its debates, though not at prayers.

This, however, was not always the case and the right to debate a matter in private is maintained.

Should it be desired to conduct a debate in private, a Member moves “That this House sit in private”, the Speaker, or whoever is in the Chair, must then put the motion “That this House sit in private” without debate.

The House last sat in private on the 4 December 2001 when it was debating the Anti Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill.

Once in private session, no verbatim, sound or television record of that session can be made.

Previously, a Member could achieve the same end by declaring I Spy Strangers, strangers being anyone not a Member or Officer of the House, but as Members tended to use this as a device, much deprecated by the Chair, of expressing political indignation on a subject or to delay proceedings, the Modernisation Select Committee recommended its abolition.

In previous times a Member “spying strangers” meant that they had to withdraw automatically ‐ there was no division.

On one famous occasion in the 1880s, Mr Biggar, an Irish Nationalist Member, caused the Prince of Wales to be removed by use of this device.

www.parliament.uk

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Commons, History, Procedure. Tags: , .

Press Gazette reports on i spy strangers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Follow us on Twitter!

March 2009
M T W T F S S
    Apr »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

%d bloggers like this: