Mayhem in Commons as MPs scuffle at Speaker’s chair as Parliament is shut down

10 September 2019, 08:27

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Parliament has been suspended for five weeks following a ceremony in the early hours which was interrupted by protests from opposition MPs.

Shouts of "shame on you" could be heard as Conservatives left the Commons to head to the House of Lords.

Signs bearing the word "silenced" were held in front of the Speaker John Bercow as Commons officials attempted to intervene in chaotic scenes in the chamber last night.

Opposition MPs hold up protest signs in Parliament
Opposition MPs hold up protest signs in Parliament. Picture: Twitter / Clive Lewis MP

Mayhem broke out as a contingent of MPs stood in the chamber claiming they had been “silenced” and holding banners aloft.

Labour's Lloyd Russell-Moyle, 35, threw himself across Mr Bercow, seemingly in a  symbolic bid to block him moving.

The scenes unfolded last night as Boris Johnson lost his second bid for a snap general election by 293 to 46, short of the two-thirds majority needed.

The prorogation, suspending Parliament for five weeks and ending the longest parliamentary session in UK history, makes a general election extremely unlikely until at least mid-November.

The Prime Minister had said he wanted to head to the polls next month to break the political deadlock, as he accused opposition parties of making "outrageous excuses" to delay. In furious scenes in the chamber Mr Corbyn said he would not let his party walk into "traps laid by this Prime Minister".

"This Government is only interested in shutting down Parliament to avoid any scrutiny," the Labour leader said. Following the defeat, Mr Johnson said the Government would "press on with negotiating a deal while preparing to leave without one" ahead of the European Council summit on October 17.

The Prime Minister said: "No matter how many devices this Parliament invents to tie my hands I will try to get an agreement in the national interest.

"This Government will not allow Brexit to be delayed any further. While the opposition run, they cannot hide forever."

Mr Bercow said of the protest: "I recognise that our presence is desired by our Majesty the Queen's Commissioners. They are doing what they believe to be right and I recognise my role in this matter."

Mr Bercow added: "I'm perfectly happy to play my part, but I do want to make the point that this is not a standard or normal prorogation."

One protest sign was left on the Speakers chair
One protest sign was left on the Speakers chair. Picture: Twitter / Clive Lewis MP

The Speaker continued: "It's one of the longest for decades and it represents an act of executive fiat."

Conservative MP Andrew Stephenson shouted at the Speaker and left the chamber.

In response, the Speaker said: "I don't care if you don't like it. I require no response from you young man. I require no response from you. Get out man, you will not be missed."

The Prime Minister's rejected claims the break until the middle of next month is to avoid Brexit scrutiny.

MPs also demanded the Government publish communications connected to prorogation and no-deal Brexit planning.
Former attorney general Dominic Grieve's demand for all written and electronic contact about the temporary suspension of Parliament and Operation Yellowhammer documents since July 23 to be released was approved by 311 votes to 302, a majority of nine.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson will visit a primary school in London to mark the launch of an education drive which could see up to 30 new free schools established.