New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. May I very gently seek your guidance about the status of the convention regarding the silence of the Whips? During the exchanges between the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and my Right Hon. and Learned Friend the Member for Kensington and Chelsea (Sir Malcolm Rifkind), the Shadow Secretary of State, you firmly reproved one hon. Member for very loud heckling. However, you may not have been able to hear the very senior member of the Government Whips Office – I shall not name her, as she has left the Chamber – who kept up an almost compulsive and constant sedentary chattering. Moreover, today is not the first time that that has been observed. Is that in order for the proceedings of this Chamber?

[Mr Speaker: Let me say to the Hon. Gentleman that I can hear a pin drop in the Chamber, so he does not have to worry about what I heard. I have a policy: I pick up one at a time, and the next time round it will be the Right Hon. Lady to whom he has referred.]