'He's not fit to stay in the role': SNP Westminster leader calls for Sir Lindsay Hoyle to step down over ceasefire row

26 February 2024, 20:15 | Updated: 26 February 2024, 22:46

Sir Lindsay Hoyle is facing renewed pressure to step down as Commons Speaker
Sir Lindsay Hoyle is facing renewed pressure to step down as Commons Speaker. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Emma Soteriou

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has called for Sir Lindsay Hoyle to step down after he blocked the SNP motion for an emergency debate on Gaza.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Sir Lindsay rejected a bid by the SNP on Monday for an emergency debate on a ceasefire and an end to UK arms sales to Israel, despite offering such a debate last week while apologising for his handling of last Wednesday's ceasefire motion.

Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr, Mr Flynn said: "I feel vindicated in my remarks, with some people suggesting I perhaps jumped the gun a little bit early in my condemnation of the actions of the Speaker of the House of Commons.

"But he’s proven today, through the fact that he was not just willing to break the rules but has now broken his word, that he's not fit to stay in that role and to provide that democratic overview – an important position for all of us."

Read more: Nandy says 'many, many MPs' have been harassed in the streets as she weighs in on Gaza vote Speaker chaos

Read more: Fury as Tory MP claims there are religious ‘no-go’ areas in Birmingham and London as party's Islamophobia row deepens

Stephen Flynn reiterates his call for the Speaker to step down

Sir Lindsay's decision brought a flurry of new signatures to a motion expressing no confidence in the Speaker, with 80 MPs now backing the call for him to step down.

Explaining what happened, Mr Flynn told Andrew: "We were effectively offered an apology on Thursday and told ‘You know what? We’ll give you a debate and a vote on what’s called an SO24 motion the following week’.

"Here we are, I put forward a motion today that would have sought to build upon the consensus that we had last week to then create a situation where we would be saying to the UK Government that what they have to do in the United Nations is to back an immediate ceasefire and in the meantime we should stop selling arms to Israel.

"And the Speaker, not content with breaking the rules last week, has now decided to break his word and decided that vote and that debate can’t happen."

Mr Flynn had asked in a point of order why his request for an emergency debate on Monday had been denied, despite the Speaker's earlier promise that one could be held.

Sir Lindsay said the subject of a ceasefire in Gaza would be brought before the Commons on Tuesday, when it is understood that development minister Andrew Mitchell will make a statement to the House.

He said: "In determining whether a matter is urgent I must have regard to the probability of the matter being brought before the House in time by other means. The House came to a resolution on this matter on Wednesday last week.

"Further, I understand the government is ready to make a relevant statement tomorrow so there is a very imminent opportunity for this important matter to come before the House."