The Books of To-day and the Books of To-morrow, March 1906


We have received an advance copy of the New Book of Rules for the
Use of Members of Parliament. New Members should pay
particular attention to the following:—

RULE I.—Before taking their seats on nights when Chinese Labour is to be discussed, Members will be required to leave all weapons, such as bludgeons, revolvers, maxim-guns, and volumes of the Encyclopædia Britannica, in the cloak-room.

RULE IV.—Attention must be paid to correct Parliamentary phraseology. Irish Members will still be allowed to shout ‘Judas!’ but the use of expletives by Labour Members is strictly prohibited. In extreme cases, however, the epithet ‘blighter’ may be used.

RULE VI.—Clay pipes must be knocked out against the door-post before entering the debating chamber.

RULE XIV.—No regulations as to dress are issued, but it is recommended that Members, out of respect for the Mother of Parliaments, should endeavour to appear in the costume of the ordinary, well-groomed man-about-town. Mr. Keir Hardie may be cited as a model to those aspiring to be neat without being gaudy.

RULE XV.—The Speaker should be addressed as ‘Mr. Speaker, Sir,’ not as ‘Hi, matey!’

RULE XX.—A vote of censure should be moved verbally, not with a shot-gun.

RULE XXI.—Do not illtreat Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. He is doing his best.

RULE XXV.—Questions as to what Mr. John Burns intends to do with the 1500l. of his salary over and above the 500l. which he considers enough for any man, may be asked after debate.

RULE XXX.—Comments on an opponent’s personal appearance should be reserved for the smoking-room. It must be remembered that a man who wears a bowler hat with a frock-coat frequently has the best interests of the country at heart.

RULE XXXI.—Recollect that the Under-Secretary for the Colonies has his feelings like all of us. It is inconsiderate to address him as ‘little man,’ and to ask him when his holidays end.

RULE L.—In mentioning an opponent say ‘The hon. Member for such-and-such a constituency,’ not ‘That ass over there at the end of the second bench.’

RULE LI.—When sitting on a hat, choose somebody else’s.

RULE LIV.—If through neglect of one of the above rules you should happen to be gathered in by the police, do not resist. They are learning Jiu-Jitsu.



Printed unsigned; entered by Wodehouse in Money Received for Literary Work.


Mems.: abbreviation for Memorandums
XIV. Keir Hardie: In the 1892 General Election he became the country’s first socialist M.P. The tradition at that time was for M.P.s to wear top hats and long black coats, and Hardie created a sensation by entering Parliament wearing a cloth cap and tweed suit. (note by John Dawson)
XXI.: Possibly citing the sign in a Western saloon “Do not shoot the pianist. He is doing his best.”—noted by Oscar Wilde in his Impressions of America.
XXV. John Burns: See Wodehouse’s verse “Election Songs”
XXXI.: The Under-Secretary of the Colonies at the time was Winston Churchill, 31 years old, and frequently twitted in the press for his youth and impetuosity.