When Parliament Debated Outlawing French Words

This fantastically bizarre Ten Minute Rule Bill debate from 1994 has been unearthed and is well worth a watch in today’s climate of a little cross-Channel rivalry. South Hams MP Anthony Steen proposed to outlaw the use of French words in the UK, following the French National Assembly and Senate passing legislation banning the use of English words and expressions in theirs. It turns out his tongue was firmly in his cheek…

This vintage Parliamentary TV has everything, young familiar faces of Nigel Evans, Michael Fabricant, Gyles Brandreth, and a youthful Jeremy Corbyn acting as a teller, Tony Marlow raising a point of order while the Commons rule of having to wear a top hat in order to do so during a vote still stood. The motion even went to a division before being defeated by 45 votes to 149. The UK remained open to the world even as Europe closed in on itself…

h/t Christian Calgie

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Andrea Leadsom told BBC Radio 4’s Today

“He’s made his views on Brexit on the record, and the problem with that of course is that the chair’s impartiality is absolutely essential. … He’s made his views known on Brexit… it’s a matter for him but nevertheless it’s a challenge and all colleagues need to form their own view of that.”


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