Tag Archives: Speaker

Ceasefire motion fiasco triggers calls for Commons Speaker to be removed

Blood on his hands: if Keir Starmer really interfered in Parliamentary procedure to water down the SNP’s Gaza ceasefire motion, then people may justifiably be concerned that he has prolonged Israel’s genocide.

If Lyndsay Hoyle really did think he was safeguarding his job as Commons Speaker by allowing Labour’s amendment to the SNP’s ceasefire motion to be debated, he’s thinking twice now.

After he allowed the amendment onto the agenda, in defiance of convention and against the advice of his clerk…

… it was suggested that he had been blackmailed into taking it by Keir Starmer (possibly via his chief of staff, Sue Gray), with a threat that he would not be re-elected as Speaker after the general election if he didn’t toe the line:

Hoyle denied being pressured by anybody from the Labour Party.

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Instead, after holding meetings with representatives from all sides of the House of Commons, Hoyle came up with a fantastical story that he had been presented with “frightening” threats to MPs’ safety.

He said he

“never, ever wanted to go through a situation where I pick up a phone to find a friend of whatever side has been murdered by a terrorist”.

He added: “I also don’t want another attack on this House. I was in the chair on that day. I have seen, I have witnessed.

“I won’t share the details but the details of the things that have been brought to me are absolutely frightening on all members of this House, on all sides. I have a duty of care and I say that and if my mistake is looking after members, I am guilty. I am guilty because… I have a duty of care that I will carry out to protect people. It is the protection that led me to make a wrong decision.”

Do you believe that? Tom Smith, who runs Another Angry Voice, doesn’t.

He wrote:

Here’s just some of the stuff that’s wrong with this absurd Starmerite narrative that Hoyle had to bin parliamentary procedure and side with Starmer in order to protect MPs from potential harm.

Labour MPs bragged to their mates in the media that they made Hoyle do what he did by threatening his position as speaker.

Hoyle himself stated that he was doing it for ‘procedural reasons’, rather than for the safety of MPs.

The implication that MPs lives would be in danger were they to have debated a motion that referenced Israeli “collective punishment” of Palestinian civilians rather than one that didn’t is downright absurd.

It’s beyond depraved to invoke the horrific killings of MPs by a far-right extremist (Jo Cox) and an Islamist terrorist (David Amess) to portray overwhelmingly peaceful Palestinian solidarity campaigners as a threat to the safety of politicians.

Citing potential terrorist violence in order to rip up established procedures sets an extremely dangerous precedent that clearly incentivises violent threats against MPs from people who expect they can influence political processes through threats and intimidation.

MPs have a long proven track record of fabricating threats and abuse.

MPs centring themselves as the primary victims in all of this is utterly obscene.

I agree with him.

At the time of writing, 67 MPs – mostly from the Conservative Party and the SNP – have signed a motion of ‘no confidence’ in the Speaker.

He should resign; he made a terrible mistake – possibly under pressure from the Labour leadership – and now he has tried to justify himself in a way that is not credible.

And then there is Keir Starmer’s role in this.

If he did pressurise the Speaker – in any way – then he has disgraced his position, the Labour Party, Parliament and the UK (because this was a debate about this country’s role in international affairs).

In such circumstances, he certainly would not deserve to become a prime minister of the UK. Until the questions about this fiasco are answered in full, he should not be allowed the opportunity.


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UK to demand Israel/Gaza ceasefire – but only after ‘chaos’ in the Commons

Lindsay Hoyle: his choices in the ceasefire debate led to considerably more contrition than you can see in this image.

What an unholy mess.

After Commons Speaker Lyndsay Hoyle broke convention to accept an Opposition amendment to an Opposition motion calling for a ceasefire in the Israel/Gaza conflict, the debate on the most serious issue facing the world today descended into a farcical row about procedure.

Hoyle left the Speaker’s chair while the debate was still ongoing, prompting Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s Westminster leader, to demand that he return to the House of Commons to explain what had happened.

He said if the Labour Party’s amendment was carried, then the SNP vote would not be held. He said this amounted to telling the SNP “our views and our votes in this house are irrelevant to him”.

According to the BBC, Conservative and SNP MPs then walked out of the Commons chamber in protest at Hoyle’s handling of the debate. Concerns were repeated that he had been pressured into accepting Labour’s amendment with threats that, otherwise, he would not be re-elected as Speaker after the general election.

On top of all this, some smartass called for the remainder of the debate to be held in private – meaning all members of the public must leave, broadcasting of proceedings ends, and the official record Hansard does not produce a transcript of what MPs say – but decisions are still recorded.

If it had passed, this would have raised more concerns about a lack of democracy and accountability. It didn’t, though.

Labour’s amendment – and then the SNP’s amended motion – was then passed without a vote – while SNP and Tory MPs were still outside the Commons chamber.

Because they walked out in protest at the Speaker, they did not have the opportunity to register their votes on the calls for an immediate ceasefire. So Labour MPs were very nearly the only ones voting.

In the meantime, Hoyle was located and reappeared to claim that he had not been put under any pressure by Keir Starmer or any other Labour MP.

“I wanted to do the best by every member of the house,” he said.

“I regret how it’s ended up. It was not my intention. I wanted all to ensure they could express their views. As it was, in particularly the SNP, were unable to vote on their own proposition.

“It is with my sadness that it ended in this position. It was never my intention. I recognise the strength of feeling of this house and its members. I will reflect on my part in that. I do not want it to have ended like this.”

He said he would meet party leaders and chief whips to discuss the best way forward, and added: “I thought I was doing the right thing. I do take responsibility for my actions.”

That was not enough for Mr Flynn. He acknowledged Hoyle’s apology but said the Speaker was warned that his decision would lead to the SNP not having a vote: “I am afraid that is treating myself and my colleagues in the SNP with complete and utter contempt.”

To Hoyle, he said: “Your position is intolerable.”

He clarified his position to journalists outside, saying there could be no vote on the SNP’s motion because the Labour party put pressure on the Speaker so that “Labour’s show was the only show in town.”

“This was all about something so much bigger than us and yet here we are talking about all of the wrong things” he says.

He said he had wanted to call for a ceasefire in Gaza with his party’s motion, but “this place has turned it into a complete pantomime.”

It is easy to understand why the SNP should be unhappy with Labour’s amendment, which is far more sympathetic to Israel than their motion would have been.

The amendment calls for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza, but does not mention the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people” which was part of the SNP motion and amounts to a war crime.

The Labour amendment also “condemns the terrorism of Hamas” and notes “that Israel cannot be expected to cease fighting if Hamas continues with violence”. And it calls for the release of hostages and international aid to be allowed into Gaza.

Some have said the amendment amounts to demanding a ceasefire “when Israel feels like it” – which is no good at all because Israel will feel like it after Gaza is leveled and every last child, woman and man there is dead or has been expelled.

So, thanks to Labour’s saboteurs, a debate that should have condemned Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza became a silly squabble about procedure, with an amendment that makes Israel look like the victim passed almost unnoticed.

Benjamin Netanyahu must be laughing like the maniac he is.

First female Commons Speaker dies. Is this the best comment on her?

Betty Boothroyd: first female Commons Speaker dies aged 93.

This Writer is saddened to learn of the death of first female Speaker of the House of Commons, Betty Boothroyd, at the age of 93.

She was also the first Speaker I can remember who became a media personality in her own right – not only because she was a woman but because she was a former Tiller girl (it was a famous dance troupe, back in the day).

The best comment I’ve seen on her passing is this:

It puts the official word from current speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle in the shade:

Will we see her like again? Definitely.

But with people like Hoyle around, and politicians like Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, it seems unlikely that they’ll turn up for a long, long time.


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#Police will be asked to investigate Parliamentary #drug use. We know what they’ll say!

Hoyle: is this how he’ll react when the Metropolitan Police refuse to investigate cocaine use in Parliament, on grounds that they don’t investigate crimes retrospectively?

The Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, has announced that he will ask the Metropolitan Police to investigate cocaine use in Parliament:

Apparently all but one of 12 lavatory areas in Parliament that were tested showed traces of cocaine.

That’s all very well, but we know what the answer will be, after Cressida Dick’s response to complaints about the Downing Street Christmas party of December 18, 2020:

It turns out that Met Commissioner Cressida Dick herself previously said the Met had many retrospective investigations on the go:

But that was a while ago. Clearly the new less-than-one-year limitation on investigating crime retrospectively came in after 2017.

Funny that none of us ever heard of it, though…

Still, we know the answer Hoyle will hear – right?

So the Met Police won’t be investigating druggie MPs.

If it does launch a probe, then the failure to investigate the Downing Street party will be a serious breach of procedure. But we know that already, too – right?

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Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle tries to justify refusal to change rules on lying. Fails

Hoyle in action: he was probably shouting at someone who dared suggest a government minister was telling a porkie.

What a shame that the House of Commons now has Lindsay Hoyle as its Speaker; a man who would rather turn a blind eye to corruption than tackle it.

If he is really more interested in his own expected peerage than in running a fair and honest chamber – as some have suggested – then he’s part of the problem.

It seems he has appeared on the BBC’s Westminster Hour, trying to justify his refusal to alter Commons rules to make lying to the House more difficult:

“What are we going to do? Are we going to let it deteriorate to that level so every time someone speaks you’re a liar? That’s not a good way of debate, that is not the art of debate. I think it’s about proving who’s right and who’s wrong, not taking a simplistic view and saying, ‘well that’s very easy, you’re lying’. There are ways of exposing that, let’s use the right ways. If you feel that somebody has misled inadvertently, let’s get it on the record… and if you need to hold people to account, do it through a substantive motion. And if you give real answers, you won’t have that problem.”

Shall we go through it slowly?

“What are we going to do? Are we going to let it deteriorate to that level so every time someone speaks you’re a liar? That’s not a good way of debate, that is not the art of debate.”

Nobody has suggested this. It is disengenuous of Hoyle even to suggest it. Why did he not use an example that has happened, such as the moment when one of his deputies threw out Dawn Butler after she pointed out how Boris Johnson had lied to MPs – with examples?

He didn’t mention that because it would have undermined his argument.

” I think it’s about proving who’s right and who’s wrong, not taking a simplistic view and saying, ‘well that’s very easy, you’re lying’.”

Again, nobody has done this. They have simply called for an archaic rule, saying they cannot counter lies immediately, to be removed for the good of the reputation of the House of Commons. Dawn Butler put up her proof and was thrown out, remember.

“If you feel that somebody has misled inadvertently, let’s get it on the record… and if you need to hold people to account, do it through a substantive motion.”

The problem is not with ministers misleading “inadvertently” – it is with outright lies, as Hoyle knows very well. And the problem with making a substantive motion about another MP’s lies is that Hoyle chooses which matters are debated and will pass over a motion about lying, every time.

Won’t he?

It’s time for a vote of “no confidence” in the Speaker of the House of Commons.

The good news is that there is a petition calling on MPs to legislate against lying in Parliament, as discussed on This Site here.

It has reached the 100,000-signature threshold to be considered for debate – and may therefore be considered to be exactly the kind of “substantive motion” that Hoyle said he wanted to see.

And has he approved it for debate? No.

A response to the petition states: “The Government does not intend to introduce legislation of this nature,” and concludes: “The House has determined that how Members conduct themselves in the Chamber, including their adherence to the principles of public life, is a matter for the Speaker, and Parliament is responsible for its own procedures.”

Corrupt.

ADDITIONAL: This writer has submitted a complaint to the BBC about the way it has reported this matter on its website:

“Report was not fair/accurate

“In your article, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle: I’ve received death threats, you reported: “Labour MP Dawn Butler was suspended from the Commons in July for claiming Prime Minister Boris Johnson had “lied to the House and the country over and over again” and refusing to withdraw her accusation. “Using such language was “not a good way of debate”, Sir Lindsay said, adding: “That is not the art of debate – I think it’s about proving who’s right and who’s wrong, not taking a simplistic view and saying, ‘Well, that’s very easy. You’re lying.'”” This was not what happened on the day, as your own BBC Politics Twitter account shows here: https://twitter.com/BBCPolitics/status/1418230091201622024 Ms Butler did not simply say Boris Johnson had lied – she provided examples of his falsehoods. In so doing, she met Lindsay Hoyle’s requirement by proving that Mr Johnson had done wrong. Your article is therefore not properly balanced and is unfair to Ms Butler. Please publish a further article, setting this error right. It will not be enough to amend the article you have already published, which should be removed, as people are unlikely to re-read it, having read it already.”

It won’t do any good because the BBC likes to whitewash itself, especially when it is found to have been biased in favour of political corruption.

But it puts the Corporation’s pro-Tory reporters on notice that they’re being watched.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Boris Johnson’s lies: fact-checker shows Dawn Butler was RIGHT

Fact-checking organisation Full Fact has shown that Dawn Butler was right – and Boris Johnson has consistently given false information to Parliament and the UK.

It cannot say whether Johnson intended to lie, because that depends on the circumstances in which his claims were made.

But it says the Ministerial Code demands that government ministers, including the prime minister, correct any error – including inadvertent errors – at the earliest opportunity. And Boris Johnson has not corrected any of the errors checked by Full Fact.

Ms Butler said:

“The Prime Minister said the economy is growing by 73%. It’s just not true.”

And Full Fact confirmed that the claim was false.

She said:

“[Boris Johnson says he] reinstated nurses’ bursary. Just not true.”

Again, Ms Butler was proved correct: “Mr Johnson’s government has reintroduced a system in which all student nurses receive a non-repayable grant from the government, but it does not pay their tuition fees on their behalf, which was the system when the old bursary applied.”

“[Boris Johnson said] there wasn’t an app [for Covid-19 contact tracing] working anywhere in the world. Just isn’t true.”

Quite right: “There is now some evidence that contact-tracing apps have been effective to some extent in several countries, including the UK.”

“[Boris Johnson said the] Tories invested £34bn in the NHS. Not true.”

Again, she was correct: “This figure does not account for inflation, which tends to make the actual value of a sum of money diminish over time. If you do account for inflation, which is the fairest way to compare sums of money across time, then the ‘real terms’ value of the spending increase was £20.5 billion.

“Nor is this spending increase a ‘record’. The last time NHS spending rose by at least this much in real terms was between 2004/05 and 2009/10.”

Finally:

“The Prime Minister said we have severed the link between infection and serious disease and death. Not only is this not true, Madam Deputy Speaker, but it’s dangerous.”

Right yet again: “Recent data from Public Health England shows that even fully vaccinated people do sometimes get seriously ill with the disease, and a few still die.”

For this, Dawn Butler was ordered to leave the House of Commons?

Isn’t it true that, under the same Ministerial Code that Johnson has broken, “time and time again”, by failing to correct the record, ministers who act as he has should be expelled from Parliament? (I’ll help you out there: it is.)

It seems that the Speaker’s Office, which is supposed to uphold Parliamentary standards – that’s the apparent reason for Ms Butler’s ejection – has been remiss in its duties.

I wrote to Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle about this on Friday (July 23), and I feel no reluctance to share the correspondence with you because I had previously written to him about lies by Tory minister Victoria Atkins and he has failed to respond. Perhaps this will encourage him.

My letter reads:

You have a serious problem here, and it is Parliamentary rules that are to blame.
Yesterday (July 22), Acting Deputy Speaker Judith Cummins ordered Dawn Butler to leave the Commons Chamber because she – rightly – pointed out that prime minister Boris Johnson has lied to Parliament and to the country “time and time again”.
Ms Butler pointed out at the time that “we get in trouble in this place for calling out the lie, rather than the person lying” – and she was absolutely correct.
Evidence of Mr Johnson’s lies is widely available. I understand that Parliament has a rule against misleading Parliament that requires the member who does so to be expelled. This has not been applied to Mr Johnson. Is this because MPs are banned from pointing out that he has lied continually since become an MP?
I am aware that rules governing behaviour in the House of Commons require that MPs must not accuse other members of lying. Was this rule specifically drafted in order to protect liars? If not, then why has it been used in that way? Why is the Speaker’s Office permitting it to be used in that way?
This has happened at a time when dishonesty by government MPs is not only widespread; it is epidemic. Parliament’s rules are clearly not fit for purpose while they are allowed to get away with lying to MPs and to the public, again and again.
As the person with ultimate responsibility for MPs’ behaviour, it is the Speaker’s duty to ensure that everything said by MPs is honest – and that dishonesty is punished. It is not the Speaker’s job to punish people for highlighting dishonesty when it is found. Ms Cummins’ behaviour yesterday must not be repeated when Parliament resumes after the summer recess.
I am therefore writing to urge you to spend the summer recess considering ways to reform the rules, in order to ensure that a mechanism exists, within Parliament, to punish any MP for uttering falsehoods in Parliament – and to ensure that MPs who highlight these falsehoods are not punished for doing so. They are acting in the best interests of the nation.

No response as yet. Is Sir Lindsay keeping his head in the sand because he wants a place in the House of Lords (that his immediate forerunner didn’t get)?

Source: Was Dawn Butler right about Boris Johnson ‘lying’ to Parliament? – Full Fact

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Commons Speaker refuses bid to debate government diktats – but it may IMPROVE democracy

Speaking up: Lindsay Hoyle wasn’t quite this active in his speech, but his words were strong.

What was the point of Lindsay Hoyle’s intervention about Boris Johnson treating Parliament with contempt?

He spoke up to say the way the government has used secondary legislation – statutory instruments – to exercise power in the Covid-19 crisis has been “totally unsatisfactory”.

But then he said he’s blocking an amendment of the temporary provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020 – that allows Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock to use those powers!

See for yourself:

He did say that he’ll be extremely sympathetic to motions that call for the government to send ministers to the Commons to defend undemocratic moves to restrict citizens’ freedoms in the future.

And it seems likely that Tory backbenchers will take advantage of this; all is not well between Downing Street and the Tory backbenches.

It raises a crucial question:

Could Tory rebels bring Johnson down – in the middle of a national health crisis – in the name of democracy?

Amazingly, because of Keir Starmer’s assurances of support, it seems the government is more likely to be defeated by members of its own party than by Her Majesty’s Opposition – and that’s an unhealthy position for a Labour leader.

The public will see that Starmer is not doing the job for which he was elected and will turn further against him.

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Is this plan for daily Covid testing of MPs simply to shore up support for Johnson?

Speaker: Lindsay Hoyle in action.

Why is the Commons Speaker, who is supposed to be neutral, suggesting a plan to re-fill Parliament with braying Boris Johnson loyalists?

Johnson made a fool of himself at Prime Minister’s Questions last week when his pre-scripted attack on Keir Starmer about a spurious connection with terrorism exposed him to ridicule.

Some commentators said Johnson was finding it hard to stand up to Starmer without the support of hundreds of Tory backbenchers behind him, egging him on.

So now Lindsay Hoyle has proposed a plan to pack the screaming mob back in:

MPs could be tested daily for coronavirus to allow them to safely fill the chamber of the House of Commons, the Speaker has suggested.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle told Times Radio he had spoken to the NHS and government about getting “a quick turnaround of tests” to allow more MPs in.

Of course, some of us have been asking why MPs have been saying it is safe for our children to be packed back into schools when they are still working from home because they fear catching the virus so much.

It is possible that a return to full attendance at the House of Commons will encourage some of them to claim that it was a silly criticism.

If so, we’ll have to remind them that the situation isn’t the same – because I don’t see the government authorising daily testing of every school attendee. Do you?

Source: Coronavirus: Test MPs for Covid-19 every day, says Speaker – BBC News

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Babyish Boris Johnson is having a tantrum – if he can’t have his Brexit he’ll try to cause chaos

Boris Johnson: He doesn’t like it when events conspire against him.

Here’s some more evidence that Boris Johnson is in hock to hedge fund bosses who’ve bet on a “no deal” Brexit.

It seems he’s now saying he’ll resign as prime minister – taking his entire cabinet with him – if the EU doesn’t give him the Brexit he wants.

He seems to think that this will make it impossible for Parliament to do anything – but it seems that, like everything else so far, he got that wrong.

Most significantly, it seems BoJob is hoping the UK will be unable to call on the EU for Brexit to be delayed, as required by the so-called “Benn Act” forbidding a “no deal” Brexit.

In fact, it seems Parliament will simply empower Speaker John Bercow to write the letter – the chairman of meetings in the House of Commons acting on the will of that chamber.

And Mr Johnson is facing a rebellion by civil servants, who may find themselves ordered to break the law if he follows this course. They would either resign or demand a public declaration that they were ordered into lawbreaking.

So it seems this plan is unlikely to placate any shadowy backers BoJob may (or may not) have.

As for what the threat to quit government means – it seems he believes Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn would be unable to form a government within the 14 days required by law and a general election would be called, to take place in December.

This implies that the Liberal Democrats, under Tory-supporting Jo Swinson, would not support Mr Corbyn as leader, despite the fact that failure to do so means the UK continues to edge towards a Brexit that she claims to oppose.

Now, why would the leader of the ‘Party of Remain’ want to do that?

Source: Boris Johnson ‘will collapse government’ if EU refuse new deal and force election – Mirror Online

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POLL: Is Commons Speaker John Bercow right to voice his own views on Brexit?

Speaking out: John Bercow at the Bingham Lecture. Is he right to make his opinions known?

John Bercow, the soon-to-retire Speaker of the House of Commons, is being criticised for voicing his opposition to Boris Johnson’s “no deal” Brexit.

Critics are saying he should be impartial and has no right to attack the prime minister and his policies.

Supporters say it is important for him to stand up for Parliamentary sovereignty.

Now he has said he may bend Parliamentary rules – in response to efforts by BoJob and his advisers to go around them.

And he has voiced support for the idea of a written UK constitution, to ensure that the kind of shenanigans we have seen from the Johnson administration (and the May ministry before it) cannot happen again:

John Bercow has threatened Boris Johnson that he will be prepared to rip up the parliamentary rulebook to stop any illegal attempt by the prime minister to take the UK out of the EU without a deal on 31 October.

In a direct warning to No 10, the Speaker of the House of Commons said he is prepared to allow “additional procedural creativity” if necessary to allow parliament to block Johnson from ignoring the law.

“If we come close to [Johnson ignoring the law], I would imagine parliament would want to cut off that possibility … Neither the limitations of the existing rulebook or ticking of the clock will stop it doing so,” he said, delivering the annual Bingham lecture in London. “If I have been remotely ambiguous so far, let me make myself crystal clear. The only form of Brexit that we have, whenever that might be, will be a Brexit that the House of Commons has explicitly endorsed.”

He also proposed a written constitution to stop “executive malpractice or fiat”, which could potentially have avoided the constitutional crisis that the UK has found itself in over Brexit.

Simple question: Do you think Mr Bercow is right to speak out? Or should he keep his mouth shut?

[polldaddy poll=10407715]

Source: John Bercow: I’ll stop Boris Johnson breaking the law on Brexit | Politics | The Guardian

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