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Deputy Speaker dismisses calls for investigation into Welsh MP over ‘filibuster’ claim

26 Feb 2024 4 minute read
Chris Bryant in the House of Commons

A Deputy Speaker has dismissed calls for a Welsh Labour MP to be investigated over claims he brought the Commons into “disrepute” ahead of the Gaza ceasefire debate.

Sir Chris Bryant was criticised by Conservative MPs amid suggestions he was involved in an attempt to waste time and delay the start of the SNP-led debate.

It has been claimed this was done to enable Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to lobby Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to select his party’s amendment, and therefore avoid another rebellion over the Hamas-Israel conflict.

Conservative former minister Jonathan Gullis suggested Sir Chris, a former chairman of the Commons Standards Committee, should be investigated over his behaviour.

But Deputy Speaker Sir Roger Gale said Sir Chris had remained within the rules.

Sir Chris said he was “not proud of the whole day or my own particular role in it”, adding many MPs were “very nervous” about how the day would pan out as he explained why he thought all amendments should be considered.

Grubby

Asked if he was “put up to that filibuster or did you take it upon yourself” to oppose a Tory MP’s bid to introduce a private member’s bill last Wednesday, Sir Chris told Channel 4 News: “A bit of both if I’m honest.

“I think the whole day was grubby and we need a system that doesn’t allow people to manipulate the rules to be able to get what they want.”

When told this is what he did, Sir Chris laughed before adding: “I’m not saying yes, by the way.”

Mr Gullis, raising a point of order on Monday, highlighted Sir Chris’s remarks to Channel 4 News and said: “The Member for Rhondda was until recently the chair of the Committee on Standards and must surely be expected to hold himself to the highest standard of behaviour, including in relation to honesty.

“He even wrote a book about the Code of Conduct: Why We Need to Fix Parliament – and How to Do It.

“Well, he certainly showed us how to do it last week. So can you advise me, Mr Deputy Speaker, on what mechanisms are available for an immediate investigation for the Member for Rhondda for bringing this House into disrepute?”

Rules

Sir Roger said the rules on 10-minute rule motions enable an MP to speak in favour and another against the move to introduce a Bill, with a 10-minute limit on speeches.

He said: “It’s not in order for this House to act in an instructive manner by speaking at an inordinate length, which is what filibustering is.

“According to Hansard, the speech by the Member for Rhondda took no more than seven minutes.”

Sir Roger said he was acting as the chairman for that part of the proceedings, adding: “It’s not for the chair to go into members’ motives for speaking in the House or for when and for how long they choose to speak, as long as when they do so they remain within the rules.”

Spurious points of orders

Conservative Paul Holmes (Eastleigh) raised further concerns about Sir Chris’s comments, saying: “We all saw in this chamber a number of spurious points of orders and (Sir Chris) responding to the 10-minute rule motion, and it was denied by the Leader of the Opposition (Sir Keir Starmer) that any parliamentary chicanery took place. That’s clearly not true.”

Mr Holmes asked how Sir Keir or Sir Chris could correct the record over statements made outside the House.

Sir Roger replied: “I think I’ll go out on a limb and say that we probably all agree that the House did not cover itself in glory during that debate last week.

“That said, (Mr Holmes) is well aware the chair and the officers of the House are not responsible for remarks made to the media outside the House.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

There is a bit of Fat Shanks’ ‘follow me at your peril’ about Starmer too…

Defence Sectretary Alias Alias MP describes the t*t for tat fight the might of the UK and USA combined are having with Yemen as poking a wasp’s nest, well he might well have, and now there is an 18 mile oil spill, the tribesmen are perhaps better shots…

Last edited 1 month ago by Mab Meirion
robin campbell
robin campbell
1 month ago

They should clean their grubby members

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Blame the process. The Cons would use it in an instant. Boris prorogued parliament illegally, Mogg fibbed to the queen, not a peep from the Cons. Boris lied constantly at the dispatch box. Not a peep from the Cons. There have been several Cons MP’s that have done this filibuster and that includes the chief fibber to the queen. Christopher Chope (preventing a private members bill debate on outlawing upskirting) and Phillip Davies have both used this tactic. The Cons use it when it suits them.

Stevie B
Stevie B
1 month ago

Is this the same Sir Chris that is a member of Labour Friends of Israel? Perhaps we should create a Labour Friends of Wales group!

A.Redman
A.Redman
1 month ago
Reply to  Stevie B

No right minded person would ever. condone the actions of Hamas on the Israel Kibbutz. ( The Israel Security System tragically dropped the ball that day especially as they never tire of proclaiming to the world about their world renowned national security systems.) With the 30,000 dead in Gaza,not including those still buried under the rubble of thousands of buildings The Israel Government say nothing will change until Gaza is destroyed? Those intentions will only harden the anti Israel feelings of so many more Palestineans that are not strong Hamas supporters.,whose lives have been totally wrecked. It can hardly be… Read more »

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