In a debate in Westminster Hall (about Internet fraud) yesterday, Dr Richard Taylor – Independent MP for Wyre Forest – and Bob Spink – formerly Tory but now UKIP MP for Castle Point – referred to each other as "my honourable Friend":
"Bob Spink (Castle Point) (UKIP): My hon. Friend is a wise, sincere and caring Member of Parliament, and he is right to bring this important matter to our attention. He will elucidate a specific case, but there is a general problem as well, and that is what I want to address. Not everything in Nigeria is working well, as we all know, but the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is well focused. It is the best bet to tackle the source of the great proportion of internet crime, fraud and scams, which particularly target and hurt vulnerable British people. Does my hon. Friend agree that the Government should target the source of fraud by giving even more support than they currently do to the EFCC?
Dr. Taylor: I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. I would rather leave it to the Minister to tell us what is being done and what can be done, but I take the point. Crucially, this is a cross-party matter, and I do not see a place anywhere for party point scoring."
Assuming that they weren’t just being affectionate, does this indicate that it is the practice for Independent MPs to address each other as honourable Friends? If so, in want sense is Bob Spink an Independent MP (other than in the sense that his party has the word "Independence" in its title?!).
Can anyone shed some light on this matter?