Stephen Flynn calls for the Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to resign

The SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said his party no longer had confidence in Speaker Sir Lindsay Hotyle

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has called for the Speaker to go, claiming his party no longer had confidence in Sir Lindsay Hoyle as Rishi Sunak described the handling of the Gaza ceasefire vote as “very concerning”.

Mr Flynn is now one of 65 MPs to have signed a motion of no confidence in Sir Lindsay, demanding he be forced out.

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It follows a chaotic Wednesday in Parliament where SNP MPs were unable to vote on their own motion after the Speaker selected a Labour amendment.

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has called for the Speaker to resign.SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has called for the Speaker to resign.
SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has called for the Speaker to resign.

Brought by Tory MP William Wragg, the no confidence motion has only been signed by MPs from the Conservatives and SNP members.

Sir Lindsay reiterated his earlyer apology, emphasising concerns over the security of MPs who had faced threats over their stance on the Middle East conflict.

Speaking in the Commons on Thursday, Mr Flynn said: “Last evening we saw the best of this House and it's ability to debate, but we also saw the worst of this House, as it descended into farce.

“I think I speak I speak for everyone in the chamber just now, and indeed yesterday when I expressed my deep sorrow that it was able to happen. Nevertheless, it descended into farce because of a decision you made, to ignore the advice that was given to you by the clerks.

“In doing so, on the opposition day of the Scottish National Party, we were denied the possibility to vote on a matter which is of grave concern to us, and over recent months we have sought to raise in this chamber at every available opportunity.

"It's ultimately turned into a Labour opposition day, that quite frankly is not acceptable. As I have expressed to you privately, prior to proceedings today, we do not on these benches believe you can continue in your role as Speaker. We do not have confidence in your role to do so.”

Mr Sunak criticised Sir Lindsay’s handling of the Gaza ceasefire vote as “very concerning” and warned parliamentarians should never be intimidated by “extremists”.

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The Prime Minister condemned the way the Speaker had changed the “usual ways in which Parliament works”, but acknowledged that Sir Lindsay had apologised and was “reflecting on what happened”.

“Parliament is an important place for us to have these debates,” he said. “And just because some people may want to stifle that with intimidation or aggressive behaviour, we should not bend to that and change how Parliament works. That’s a very slippery slope.”

However, in a sign the Government is unlikely to join Tory backbenchers and the SNP in forcing Sir Lindsay out, Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt responded by suggesting MPs take time to consider their feelings before taking action.

The senior Cabinet minister told MPs that Wednesday’s “shameful events” were nothing “other than party politics on behalf of the Labour Party”.

She said: “We have seen into the heart of Labour’s leadership. Nothing is more important than the interests of the Labour Party. The Labour Party before principle, the Labour Party before individual rights, the Labour Party before the reputation and honour of the decent man that sits in the Speaker’s chair. The Labour Party before fairness, integrity and democracy.”

Sir Lindsay issued a fresh apology after a day of acrimony that saw MPs pass Labour’s amendment to the opposition day motion as Conservative and SNP politicians walked out of the debate in protest.

He told the Commons: “I will reiterate I made a judgement call that didn’t end up in the position where I expected it to. I regret it. I apologise to the SNP … I apologise and I apologise to the House. I made a mistake. We do make mistakes. I own up to mine.

“I would say that we can have an SO24 [standing order 24] to get an immediate debate because the debate is so important to this House. I will defend every member in this House. Every member matters to me in this House.”

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His voice faltering, Sir Lindsay added: “And it has been said, both sides, I never, ever want to go through a situation where I pick up a phone to find a friend, of whatever side, has been murdered by terrorists.”

The session also saw tributes paid to the Speaker, most notably from Tory MP Mark Francois, who insisted Sir Lindsay was “not the villain here” and “we are lucky to have him”.

The former Tory minister said: “Collectively last night was not our finest hour, but Mr Speaker has apologised to the House for his role in what happened, he showed evident contrition and I think we should respect that.

“Speaking purely personally, I well remember everything that the Speaker did to help me and all of us when our great friend, my best friend, was murdered as it happens by an Islamic extremist, who told the trial he did it because of the way David [Amess] had voted in the House of Commons.

“Mr Speaker went the extra mile for all of us to help us all deal with that tragedy, look at that plaque behind me. We should put last night right by obviously re-running this debate in Government time. Mr Speaker is a decent man as the leader said, he’s not the villain here.

“We should re-run the debate and he should rightfully be in his place, in that chair, presiding. We are lucky to have him.”

Before he concluded, Mr Francois turned around to face Mr Wragg, who filed the motion of no confidence, and asked “aren’t we?”

It follows the Speaker disregarding warnings from the House of Commons Clerk over the unprecedented nature of allowing the Labour amendment, which provoked uproar in the chamber.

His decision sparked fury from the Conservative and SNP benches, who accused him of helping Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer avoid another damaging revolt over the Middle East issue.



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