Parliament’s Own Language – Our Favourite Words & Phrases

As a technical translation company we are very aware of the importance of understanding and choosing the right terminology for different technical spheres.

Order! Order! With Brexit putting more scrutiny on the British House of Commons globally, we thought we would share some of our favourite words and phrases from Parliament.

A Another place (or the other place) is a term used to describe the other House in Parliament. By convention, members of the Lords do not mention the Commons by name – and MPs do not refer directly to the House of Lords – when they are speaking in the Chamber.

Rarely, the Commons has used the Parliament Acts to ensure such a Bill is passed, without the consent of the Lords, the following year.

D Division Bell – this is the bell which rings 8 minutes befroe a vote. Hence the Speaker saying ‘Division!’

D Double Insistence – a double insistence is when the Commons and the Lords cannot reach agreement on part of a Bill. If neither House will back down and no compromise can be found, it is likely that the entire Bill will be lost.

Rarely, the Commons has used the Parliament Acts to ensure such a Bill is passed, without the consent of the Lords, the following year.

E Thomas Erskine May’s guide to parliamentary practice is properly entitled ‘A treatise on the law, privileges, proceedings and usage of Parliament’ but it is commonly referred to as Erskine May (or simply ‘May’). It is generally held to be the most authoritative reference book on parliamentary procedure.

First published in 1844, when Thomas Erskine May was Assistant Librarian, it is now in its 25th edition.

F Filibustering is to deliberately waste time during a debate by making overlong speeches or raising unnecessary procedural points. In this way a Bill or a motion may be ‘talked out’: stopped from making progress within the time allowed.

G To ‘give way’ or ‘giving way’ are the terms used by MPs who want to interrupt an MP who is speaking in the House of Commons. An MP cannot intervene when another MP is speaking to the House unless that MP allows it by giving way. There is no equivalent phrase in the House of Lords although some former MPs occasionally still use the term.

H ‘Henry VIII clauses’ are clauses in a bill that enable ministers to amend or repeal provisions in an Act of Parliament using secondary legislation, which is subject to varying degrees of parliamentary scrutiny.

The Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee pays particular attention to any proposal in a bill to use a Henry VIII clause because of the way it shifts power to the executive.

You can see more terms, including ‘Shuffle’, here.

Source: Parliament UK


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