I got an ‘Oh!’

lordnortonHansard in the House of Lords, unlike in the Commons, tends not to record interventions ‘[interrpution], [laughter]’.  If there is a notable outburst of laughter or protest, it is recorded as ‘Noble Lords: Oh’.  When I checked my speech online, a few hours after delivering it last Tuesday on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, I discovered I had achieved one:

“…The recent YouGov poll is especially revealing. Not only is same-sex marriage supported, overwhelmingly so by those aged under 40, but also by women, by a margin of about two to one. Opposition appears to come predominantly from older males.

Noble Lords: Oh!

Lord Norton of Louth: I am inclined to say that you know who you are, my Lords.”

I have been in the House nearly fifteen years – this October will mark the fifteenth anniversary – and I have never before achieved an ‘Oh’.  When I mentioned to the deputy editor of Hansard in the Lords that I had achieved one, he said ‘But did it have an exclamation mark?’  I confirmed that it did.  ‘That is very rare’, he said – ‘a collector’s item’.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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10 Responses to I got an ‘Oh!’

  1. Jonathan says:

    You haven’t told us what noise the Noble Lords actually made during their intervention!

    • Lord Norton says:

      Jonathan: Ah yes, perhaps I should have clarified that it was not because other peers were shouting and throwing things at me (though some of those sat around me may well have been tempted). In the Commons, I think it would have appeared as ‘[laughter]’.

  2. Jana says:

    Haha. Congrats. And to ahcieve an “Oh!” during such an excellent speech on so important a topic must make it even better.

  3. Pingback: SuperCarney to the rescue, falling real wages and living with a post-truth media: Top 5 blogs you might have missed this week | British Politics and Policy at LSE

  4. ladytizzy says:

    Lord Norton et al: LotB

    If you can’t access Beccy Allen’s post of today, “No comments this weekend please”, you aren’t alone! She very kindly responded to my enquiry and, briefly, LotB is being moved to another server over the weekend.

    Why I can’t read anything that has been posted after 29 May is another matter…

  5. allmark21 says:

    Congratulations on the “Oh”!

    I find the [interruption] in the Commons can be rather vague; exactly the same word is used whether a verbal interruption or something much more unusual like John McDonnell seizing the Mace, Fathers4Justice hitting Blair with the powder, or the hunt protestors entering the chamber. I wonder if Hansard has ever considered adding more detail?

    On a slightly unrelated note has anything similar to those three incidents been seen in the Lords in recent times?

    • Lord Norton says:

      allmark21: There’s been nothing of that sort in the Lords recently. The last incidencts I can think of were when part of the ceiling collapsed during a debate (before my time), when lesbians absailed from the public gallery (again, before my time) and when the heir to an hereditary peerage rushed in an stood on the Woolsack in 1999 to protest against the passage of the House of Lords Bill.

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