In the British parliament on 13th June 2018 SNP MP Ian Blackford said:

"Under the circumstances, given the disrespect that's shown, I have got no option but to ask that this House now sits in private."

What does asking for the house to "sit in private" mean?


The meaning is actually relatively literal. The BBC summarises it here:

Parliament retains the right to hold debates in private and any MP can propose that members of the public and press be removed from the galleries at any time.

If such a proposal is made, the Commons Speaker must put the motion "That this House sit in private" to a vote without debate.

But the procedure is seldom successful - attempts to exclude members of the public are usually deployed as a device to disrupt or delay the House's proceedings.

In case it's not clear, 'galleries' should be interpreted as 'viewing areas into the debate hall'.

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    This is the modern form of "I spy strangers", which MPs could shout to force a division on whether to exclude "strangers" (non mps) from the chamber. – James K Jun 14 '18 at 1:21

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