Opposition MPs were blasted as ‘self serving, patronising morons’ today after an unprecedented scuffle in the Commons early this morning after Boris Johnson shut down Parliament.
With the outgoing Speaker required as part of the pomp and ceremony to walk from the Commons through to the Lords, Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle, 35, threw himself across Mr Bercow, seemingly in a symbolic bid to block him moving.
As Commons doorkeepers grappled to drag him away, Mr Russell-Moyle fell into fellow protesting MPs, with others tumbling over amid the mayhem.
Remain supporter Mr Bercow, who hours earlier had announced he was quitting, himself delivered an impassioned speech against the suspension of Commons business, branding it ‘not normal’ and telling one Tory who objected to his stance: ‘I couldn’t give a flying flamingo what your view is.’
After he left the chamber a note saying ‘silenced’ was left on his empty seat.
But Leave voters on social media were less impressed by the shambolic scenes with one saying they were an ‘utter disgrace’, adding: ‘The whole lot of self serving, patronising morons need sacking. We voted Leave, get on with it.’
A group of MPs stood near the Speaker held up signs with ‘silenced’ written on them as the ceremony started. Pictured L-R: Dawn Butler (tartan trousers), Clive Lewis (arm outstretched), Caroline Lucas (face obscured, wearing scarf), Lloyd Russell-Moyle (red hair)
MPs filmed or photographed the chaotic scenes from their phones inside the chamber
Following the prorogation the Speaker’s chair was left with a sign the word ‘silenced’
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith attacked the Speaker, telling the BBC: ‘He seemed sadly to have abandoned any sense of impartiality in this process and that was the saddest part of it all … to end his time like this was close to shameful.’
How does prorogation work?
Prorogation is the official process of shutting down Parliament and comes with its own glimmer of old fashioned pageantry.
Once a minister signals the Government’s intention to prorogue, MPs are summoned to the House of Lords to join peers to hear the announcement being made on behalf of the Queen.
This was the stage that opposition MPs staged their protest in the early hours of the morning, with Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle thrusting himself at the Speaker seemingly in a symbolic bid to block him from leading them to the other chamber.
The prorogation statement set out which Bills have been given Royal Assent – a final piece of housekeeping before everyone was sent home until October 14.
Many opposition MPs chose not to go to the Lords to hear it being read out and instead remained in the Commons for an impromptu singalong.
After it was read Mr Bercow returned to the Commons and read the statement there, although many Tory MPs refused to enter the chamber to hear him read it, in their own protest against his earlier antics.
The drama unfolded at nearly 1:30am after a marathon day’s business that concluded with MPs blocking Mr Johnson’s latest bid to hold a snap election.
The Prime Minister had announced plans to suspend – or prorogue – Parliament for five weeks until October 14 before holding a new Queen’s Speech. Political rivals say he is doing it in order to silence MPs in the run-up to Brexit.
During the ceremony, as Black Rod said she required the presence of MPs in the Lords, opposition MPs bellowed ‘No’, drowning her out before some of their number rushed towards Mr Bercow.
Mr Bercow later voiced his support for the protesting MPs, telling them they could remain in their seats rather than join him in the Lords.
‘I completely understand why very large numbers of members are much more comfortable staying where they are,’ he said. He did however fulfill his role of leading mainly Tory MPs through the central lobby as cries of ‘shame on you’ rained down from opposition benches.
A number of Conservative MPs attacked opposition MPs over their protests in the Commons late last night.
Chris Green tweeted: ‘Just when you thought Labour could not get any more shameful they grapple with doormen to try and stop a normal procedure of the HoC and then stage a sit in. If they want change, they could have called a general election.’
Sport minister Nigel Adams accused the opposition of a ‘ludicrous playground stunt after you blocked a general election for the second time’.
Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle is seen (face appearing under a protest sign) lying across the Speaker’s chair in symbolic protest
Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Brighton Kemptown) appeared to try to hold on to Speaker John Bercow at the point he was requested to lead MPs to the Lords
A group of Labour MPs held up signs with ‘silenced’ written on them as the ceremony started
As the Commons doorman (bald gentleman to the right of the chair) pulls Mr Russell-Moyle (in the light grey suit) from the chair, Green MP Caroline Lucas is sent tumbling to the Commons green benches (right)
Black Rod speaks to The official ceremony to suspend Parliament began early this morning and some Labour MPs staged a protest
MP who lifted the Mace now lays across the Speaker’s lap
The young MP who was seen seemingly laying across the Speaker’s lap last night to prevent him rising and proroguing the House is the same Labour member who defied convention to carry the Mace out of the Chamber last December.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, was first elected to the House of Commons two years ago, just a year after becoming a local councillor for the first time.
Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the member of Parliament for Brighton Kemptown, grabbed the ceremonial mace on Monday night before being thrown out of the house
The proud Corbynite, 35, drew gasps from his more established colleagues when he lifted the Mace, ceremonial symbol of the House’s authority, and tried to walk it out of the chamber, in protest at Therea May postponing a Brexit vote she was forecast to lose.
It meant tensions were high as the traditional ceremony, which is carried out at the end of every Parliamentary session, got underway.
The new Black Rod Sarah Clarke – in this context acting as a messenger from the Lords – had entered the Commons to address Mr Bercow as the Speaker.
As she began her speech, she shot a Labour MP a stern glare as he told her ‘come off it’, but continued by saying the Lords ‘desire the presence of this honourable House…’ Before she could finish her sentence ‘in the House of Peers’ opposition MPs jeering ‘no’ drowned her out before she stood aside to allow Mr Bercow his response.
The scuffles then erupted alongside Mr Bercow – who in normal circumstances would have been expected to simply lead all MPs through the lobby to the House of Lords.
When they subsided, a truculent Mr Bercow, who slouched in his seat and spoke in a slow, deliberate manner, addressed Black Rod directly – as she shot him a thunderous gaze.
In bad-tempered scenes that will go down in Westminster history, he told her: ‘I will treat you and what you have to say with respect and I recognise our presence is desired by Her Majesty the Queen’s Commissioners – they are doing what they believe to be right and I recognise my [ceremonial] role in this matter.
‘I am perfectly happy, as I have advised others, to play my part but I do want to make the point that this is NOT a standard or normal prorogation.
‘I will play my part but this is not a normal prorogation, it is not typical, it is not standard. It is one of the longest for decades. And it represents not just in the minds of many colleagues but huge numbers of people outside, an act of executive fiat… but I will play my part.’
Mr Bercow was repeatedly interrupted from both sides of the chamber – with opposition hailing ‘Honest John’ and Tories yelling ‘Just do your job’.
The Speaker fought off outbursts from two MPs, with Tory Andrew Stephenson storming out of the House as Mr Bercow shouted after him ‘you won’t be missed’, before he told another Tory: ‘You’re perfectly entitled to your view. I couldn’t give a flying flamingo what your view is.’
He then joined Black Rod to lead mainly Tory MPs through to the Lords.
Opposition MPs remained in the Commons in protest, holding an impromptu sing-song in the chamber.
SNP MPs began singing ‘Scots Wha Hae’ – considered by the party to be the alternative national anthem.
And Labour MPs also sang the Red Flag before SNP MP Gavin Newlands jokingly appealed to Conservative MPs to sing – with no response.
The opposition benches in the House of Lords were empty as both Labour and Liberal Democrat peers boycotted the ceremony in protest at the suspension of Parliament.
It was left to Tory leader in the Lords Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, the Lord Speaker Lord Fowler and convener of the independent crossbenchers Lord Hope of Craighead to formally receive the Commons Speaker and MPs.
In the Commons early this morning, Boris Johnson (pictured) warned that Jeremy Corbyn and Remainers ‘can’t hide forever’ after his latest call for a snap election was rejected
Mr Corbyn was branded a ‘yellow belly’ by the PM during bad-tempered late night clashes in the House of Commons. The election call was backed by just 293 MPs
Speaker John Bercow was applauded by opposition MPs after he returned from the Lords – with most of the Government benches remaining empty.
‘I feel much more at home here,’ said Mr Bercow. One MP jokingly asked if he had been offered a peerage.
Mr Bercow replied: ‘Who said it has been offered?’
Mr Bercow read a traditional address reflecting what had happened in the Lords, and with that the Commons was prorogued shortly before 2am.
Mr Bercow was then seen shaking hands with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and a number of Labour MPs.
PROROGATION PROTEST: ‘IT IS NOT TYPICAL, NOT STANDARD…’
Speaker John Bercow addressed Black Rod as she requested MPs travel to the Lords for the prorogation ceremony. He told her:
‘I will treat you and what you have to say with respect and I recognise our presence is desired by Her Majesty the Queen’s Commissioners – they are doing what they believe to be right and I recognise my role in this matter.’
There was an interruption from the Conservative benches. Mr Bercow shot back:
‘I couldn’t care less whether you like it or not.’
Amid cheers from the opposition and jeers from Conservative benches, one MP hailed the Speaker as ‘Honest John. He continued:
‘I am perfectly happy, as I have advised others, to play my part but I do want to make the point that this is NOT a standard or normal prorogation.’
Another interruption from Tory Andrew Stephenson saw the MP storm out of the chamber, as Mr Bercow bellowed after him:
‘I require no response from you, young man. Get out, man! You will not be missed.’
Tory MPs, by now despairing, urged Mr Bercow: ‘Just do your job’. he replied:
‘I will play my part but this is not a normal prorogation, it is not typical, it is not standard. It is one of the longest for decades. And it represents, not just in the minds of many colleagues but huge numbers of people outside, an act of executive fiat.’
After applause from the opposition, he added:
‘…Of executive fiat and therefore I quite understand – I have already said Black Rod I respect and Black Rod is doing her duty and the Queen’s commissioners are doing their duty, and I will play my part…’
Black Rod Sarah Clarke shot evil looks towards Mr Bercow
Black Rod stood stony-faced, shooting daggers at Mr Bercow from her position on the floor of the House. He went on:
‘But I completely understand…’
There was then an interruption from a Tory who Mr Bercow addressed as ‘Mr Stewart. It was unclear whether it was Bob or Iain Stewart MP. Mr Bercow told him:
‘I don’t require advice on order from you, Mr Stewart! You’re a master of disorder, man! But I completely understand why very large numbers of members are much more comfortable staying where they are. Mr Stewart, if you don’t like it, you’re perfectly entitled to your view. I couldn’t give a flying flamingo what your view is. Thank you very much indeed.‘
With that, his protest over, Mr Bercow led the MPs who wanted to follow him to the Lords.