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Mordaunt launches Commons attack on Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle over Gaza debate

21 Feb 2024 4 minute read
Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle. Photo House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Penny Mordaunt has launched a Commons attack on Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, as she claimed he “hijacked” the Gaza ceasefire debate and “undermined the confidence” of the House.

The Commons Leader said Sir Lindsay had “raised temperatures” and put MPs in a “more difficult position” by selecting Labour’s bid to amend the SNP motion calling for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza and Israel.

It had been expected Sir Lindsay would select just the Government’s amendment seeking an “immediate humanitarian pause” to the Israel-Hamas conflict, which could pave the way for a more permanent stop in fighting.

But instead, he decided that the Commons would first vote on Labour’s calls for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” before moving on to further votes on the SNP’s original motion, and then the Government’s proposals if either of the first two were to fail to garner enough support.

Unprecedented

Sir Lindsay was warned by House of Commons Clerk Tom Goldsmith about the unprecedented nature of his decision ahead of the clash with MPs, with the senior official saying he felt “compelled to point out that long-established conventions are not being followed in this case”.

Sir Lindsay faced calls to resign over his decision, which sparked uproar in the chamber and shouts of “bring back Bercow” – a nod to his predecessor as speaker, John Bercow.

Ms Mordaunt, as the debate came to a conclusion, said Opposition Day debate motions can be “engineered to have the greatest possible backlash” against other MPs.

She said: “But we on this side of the House have never asked that the procedures of this House be upturned in order to mitigate against such pressures, even when we have faced extreme abuse.

“Mr Speaker has stated in the decision that he has taken today, and that he is entitled to take, that he wished for all propositions on the order paper to be put to the House.

“However, this decision has raised temperatures in this House on an issue where feelings are already running high and it has put honourable and right honourable members in a more difficult position.

“It also appears from the advice of his clerk that the decision is taken against the longstanding and established processes and procedures of this House and that the consequences may be that Government is not able to respond to Opposition Day motions and as such the Government does not have confidence that it will be able to vote on its own motion.

“For that reason the Government will play no further part in the decision this House takes on today’s proceedings.”

Political row

Ms Mordaunt went on to say: “I fear that this most grave matter that we’re discussing today and this afternoon has become a political row within the Labour Party and that regrettably Mr Speaker has inserted himself into that row with today’s decision and undermined the confidence of this House in being able to rely on its long-established standing orders to govern its debates.

“Long-established conventions that should not be impaired by the current view of a weak Leader of the Opposition and a divided party.

“I would ask that the Speaker take the opportunity to reassure all honourable and right honourable members that their Speaker, our Speaker, will not seek to undermine those rights in order to protect the interests of particular members and that future Opposition Day debates will not be hijacked in this way.

“I say this for the benefit of all members.”


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David RJ Lloyd
David RJ Lloyd
4 months ago

i’ve never been a fan in any shape or form of hoyle. he’s lacked authority, relying on some odd sort of chastisement which he arrogantly dishes out. he has limited intellectual capacity, so indeed bring back bercow & be done with this joke

A.Redman
A.Redman
4 months ago
Reply to  David RJ Lloyd

Bercow? A total biased individual.
The speaker is supposed to be non political.Speaker Boothroyd was a perfect example .

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