Unparliamentary language (FOI)
Unparliamentary language (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 04 September 2017.
During the past two years how many times have States Members been required to withdraw comments made in the States Chamber which were deemed as unparliamentary language?
How many such instances arose because they were deemed as "offensive" to other or another Member?
What specific language was used in instances deemed to be personally offensive or not acceptable when used regarding an identifiable Member or several Members?
The States Greffe does not keep a comprehensive record of the occasions on which States Members are required to withdraw comments made in the States Chamber. This information can be found by looking through the transcript (“Hansard”) of each States sitting. Hansard transcripts can be searched by a year range and the use of search terms (for example ‘unparliamentary’) will return a list of dates where the search term appears in the transcript. Once a specific transcript is opened, the Ctrl+F function can be used to find the place within the document where the search term appears. Hansard will also show the language used which occasioned a request for withdrawal and the explanation given by the Presiding Officer as to why a request to withdraw a term has been made. Again, no comprehensive record of these matters is kept by the States Greffe.
Below is a link to the Hansard area of the States Assembly website:
States Assembly: Hansard records
Alternatively, the Hansard transcripts are available to be viewed and searched at Jersey Archive in PDF format or in printed format at the States Assembly Information Centre in Morier House, Halkett Place or at Jersey Library, Halkett Place.
The Greffier of the States does submit an annual return of unparliamentary remarks to The Table, the journal of the Society of Clerks-at-the-Table in Commonwealth Parliaments, in response to the following request: “Please list, in date order, any expressions disallowed in [year], in the following format: “Expression” (date). Please do not include expressions which amount to straightforward abuse or accusations of lying. Expressions which were not ruled unparliamentary may be omitted. Each expression and variations thereof need be included only once. If expressions were in a language other than English, please also provide an English translation.”
For 2015 the following expressions were provided:
- “It is the kind of what-would-Jesus-do society because, of course, he would be there at the Tory conference sitting with the Institute of Directors in the middle table” (07 October 2015)
- “He speaks with forked tongue” (16 December 2015)
and for 2016:
- “Get off your backside” (20 January 2016)
- “Taking the proverbial” (24 May 2016)
- “I' n'peuvent pon même trouver lus tchu auve les deux mains.”- Jèrriais expression for “He couldn’t find his arse with both hands” (28 September 2016)
- “Drawn on the back of a fag packet” (28 September 2016)
- “Knicker elastic” (30 September 2016)
- “Sending [minister] to the knackers’ yard” (30 September 2016)
- “Nobble” (29 November 2016)