Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Friday, 30 January 2009

Covering Up Accusations Of A Cover-Up

There was an incident in the Commons on Wednesday which was either an example of the arcane workings of the House, or an indication of the Speaker's desire to protect a fellow socialist Scot, and I'm not certain which one it was.

During PMQs Graham Stuart (Conservative MP for Beverley and Holderness) started a question thus:

"Last week, the Prime Minister tried to cover up the expenses of Ministers. This week..."

And that's as far as he got, before Honorary Members were recorded as saying "Oh !" and the Speaker ordered him to withdraw the remark:

"Order. The hon. Gentleman must withdraw that remark. It is not a proper thing to say. Try to rephrase the question in another way."

Stuart did withdraw the remark and went on to ask his question without even mentioning expenses. The fact that he did so suggests that he knew he'd get pulled up by the Speaker and had simply used the remark for effect.

It did strike me though, as an odd little sideshow. I knew it was unparliamentary to accuse someone of lying. But a cover up ? That's entirely different. You can seek to cover something up without lying about it. What's more, that's exactly what Brown tried to do with MPs' expenses - he tried to hide them, and only agreed not to hide them once it was shown to be too difficult for him.

I cannot for the life of me see why accusing the Prime Minister of trying to cover something up should be deemed as being "not a proper thing to say". Surely an MP should be not barred from saying something that is so obviously and demonstrably true ?

Hansard extract here, for those who want it.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Perhaps it's to add a little dramatic licence to the proceedings or a tease.. who knows...

I am of the opinion that the whole thing should be spontaneous anyway. The fact that each question has to be submitted before hand is ludicrous.