The word ‘chunter’, meaning to ‘mumble, find fault’, has found favour with the Speaker, John Bercow, when he reprimands a member of the chamber.
SP: auditioning to be a statesman doesn’t include chuntering from a sedentary position man
The word first appeared in the House of Commons in 1950 but has become more frequent in recent years as shown by a search of the Hansard Corpus:
Listen to some examples of John Bercow in the House of Commons reprimanding members here
Sedentary: Seated or relaxed. So the phrase ‘chuntering from a sedentary position’ means an MP in the House of Commons is shouting, or heckling, or mumbling something when they do not have the floor of the House. The floor of the House can only be given by The Speaker and only one person can have the floor at any one time. If The Speaker thinks someone is making too much noise when they do not have the floor, he may reprimand them with this expression. Basically, it is a polite way of saying ‘shut up’!
Listen to some examples of John Bercow in the House of Commons reprimanding members here with the expression ‘chuntering from a sedentary position’.
Corbyn negotiates with the chamber
Jeremy Corbyn (JC) had to negotiate with the chamber again yesterday during Prime Minister’s Questions. When he rose to speak there was a great deal of barracking and he sarcastically remarked that is was nice to get such a warm welcome:
SP: Mister JEREMY →CO::RBY::N JC: thank you mister speaker Chamber: ((general noise)) (4.0) JC: thank you mister speaker (.) it’s nice to get such a warm welcome Chamber: ((shouts)) JC: ((observes Conservative benches, eyebrow shrug)) (10.0) JC: if you would allow me for one moment
Reprimanding a heckler
One particular member who shouted out something inaudible received Corbyn’s wrath before being reprimanded by the Speaker.
JC: there was no mention either Member: ((inaudible)) JC: ((stares at member)) (4.0) JC: are you done? (2.0) SP: let me very gently say to the (.) dedicated prime minister’s (.) parliamentary private secretary Chambers ((cheers of agreement)) (7.0) SP: CALM YOURSELF MAN