Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Leader of the House has made a rod for his own back

At Business Questions this week, Chris Grayling replied to a request to allow Welsh to be used in Commons proceedings:

I have given question of the Welsh Grand Committee careful thought, as I said I would a few weeks ago in the House. English is the language of the House of Commons, and it would cost taxpayers’ money to make a change at this point. I therefore think that English should continue to be the language of the House, although if someone who cannot speak English arrives here, we may need to look at the issue again.

Does that mean that when a newly-elected MP who is fluent only in Polish, Hindi, Urdu or Gujerati turns up, he or she will not be required to make the effort to learn the common language of parliament? I know that Mr Gladstone was wont to pepper his speeches to the House with Latin quotations, but at a time when every well-educated man would be expected to recognise them.

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