Yesterday, before David Cameron’s statement on the Europe issue to parliament, the BBC reported that “the Speaker [of the House of Commons] could be forced to expel some MPs if they behave improperly or refuse to retract unparliamentary language.”

I’d love to know what is defined as ‘unparliamentary language’.

In the end, it wasn’t as rowdy as all that. The Guardian reported today, however, that “two rightwing backbenchers were openly rude about the Liberal Democrats; Philip Davies describing them as ‘lickspittles’.” (Ooh…nasty!) But this, it seems, is an acceptable term in parliamentary debate:

lickspittle n. a sycophant, a toady, an obsequious flatterer (arse-kisser may be the unparliamentary alternative).

I don’t pay enough attention to what happens in Westminster, but maybe they use these kind of words all the time. I wouldn’t be surprised if some parliamentary aide is tasked with producing a list of archaic and inoffensive insults that MPs can use to harangue each other.