Wales politics

The words ruled out of order in the Welsh Assembly

Senedd
Image caption Whether something said in the Senedd is ruled a breach of order can depend on the context

More than 50 words and phrases have been ruled unacceptable when used in the Welsh Assembly chamber, according to a list obtained by the BBC.

Words that question honesty, such as "lying" or "misleading", appear most often on the list.

Describing The Queen as a "parasite" and "Mrs Windsor" was also overruled.

Among the "unparliamentary" words used to describe other AMs were "bumbling idiot", "rent-a-gob", "hypocrites", "pathetic" and "political vermin".

BBC Wales obtained the list using the Freedom of Information Act.

David Melding, who went on to be deputy presiding officer between 2011 and 2016, is an unlikely inclusion on the list, after his description of then-minister Edwina Hart beginning a speech in a "somewhat sneaky way".

Only two of the words were spoken in Welsh. They included a reference in 2002 by Elin Jones, now the newly-elected presiding officer, to former First Secretary Alun Michael and others in the Labour party in Wales as "poodles", and another by Owen John Thomas, who accused the UK government of "deceit" over school grants.

'Context'

Like the House of Commons, the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly, there is no definitive list of words considered inappropriate for use in the Welsh Assembly chamber.

According to an assembly spokesperson: "There is no list of words and phrases that are deemed automatically out of order or unacceptable for use in the assembly; the presiding officer's ruling will depend in each case on the context in which the words are used."

The assembly's Standing Orders states the presiding officer must call to order any member "who is guilty of discourteous or unbecoming conduct, is using disorderly, discriminatory or offensive language or language which detracts from the dignity of the assembly".

It adds: "a member must comply with any directions given by the presiding officer about any conduct for which he or she has been called to order."

The list, compiled by assembly officials and which includes some swear words, was obtained following a request by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act, and has been expanded to provide more context in each.

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