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Thursday 24th May 2012 | 18:21
Well now, here's a thing.
The very day after David Cameron unleashed his 'muttering idiot' jibe at Ed Balls, the Speaker has come up with some new rules.
MPs were today emailed by the Speaker's office with a letter and a background document on 'Conventions and Courtesies' of the House.
Speaker Bercow says he wants Members to 'refresh your memories' on the conventions of the Commons, including the use of un-Parliamentary language.
The revised guidance "lays increased stress on Members...particpating properly in debate...and in being present to listen to the views of other participants".
That may prompt a hollow laugh on all sides after yesterday.
Other key changes are a fresh warning that the use of 'hand held devices' ie iPads and smartphones should not be used in a way which 'impairs decorum' in the Chamber. MPs are also reminded that there is still a prohibition on reading newspapers or books in the Chamber - even if they are on a hand-held device.
I wonder if that means an MP can read a Tweet but not click on a link to a newspaper article? "Members in the Chamber should be attending to proceedings, not devoting themselves to their hand-held devices," the Speaker says.
As for 'un-Parliamentary language', the Speaker's guidance states:
"You should always bear in mind Erskine May's advice in 'Parliamentary Practice' that 'good temper and moderation are the characteristics of Parliamentary language'..
"The Speaker deprecates personal remarks about other Members.."
Of course, this may all simply be a huge coincidence and have nothing at all to do with the PM's flash of Flashman yesterday.
Then again, he has been sent the new guidance too..
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