Claims Labour tried to pressure Speaker over Gaza vote ‘utter nonsense’ – Nandy

Shadow international development secretary Lisa Nandy has rejected suggestions Labour MPs tried to influence the Commons Speaker in a vote in the House of Commons.

Ms Nandy said she believed Sir Lindsay Hoyle “did the right thing”, but that “a long, hard look” was needed at parliamentary processes.

More than 70 MPs signed a motion expressing no confidence in Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle after Wednesday’s SNP Opposition Day vote descended into chaos.

Shadow minister for international development Lisa Nandy
Shadow minister for international development Lisa Nandy said she believed Sir Lindsay Hoyle had done ‘the right thing’ (Peter Byrne/PA)

Sir Lindsay apologised for his “mistake” and offered an emergency debate on the Scottish Nationalists’ motion calling for a ceasefire, in a bid to calm the party’s fury over their proposal being sidelined.

Speaking on Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, Ms Nandy said: “(The vote) was the moment where we could have come together to speak with one voice and send a very clear message.

“In the end, I’m glad that because we put forward a motion that all parties, we thought, could support, I’m glad that there was a motion that was passed calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, but I don’t think anyone could look at those scenes on Wednesday and think that that covered the political system in the UK in glory – it didn’t.”

Asked whether anyone from the party had pressurised the speaker with his job unless he did what Labour wanted, Ms Nandy said: “Frankly, the idea that you would threaten the Speaker of the House of Commons is for the birds. I’ve served under three different speakers over 14 years and I can tell you that that is not how it works.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Sir Lindsay’s choice over the Gaza debate had been ‘concerning’ (Phil Noble/PA)

“The speaker is in charge, is the guardian of our processes and procedures, and makes the decisions. The idea that any political leader or any politician of any party could threaten the House of Commons Speaker and get away with it is just absolute and utter nonsense.”

There does not appear to be a formal mechanism for removing a speaker, with previous holders of the office only being replaced on their resignation or death.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Sir Lindsay’s choice over the Gaza debate was “concerning”, but suggested he was willing to draw a line under the episode by pointing to the Speaker’s apology.

Speaking about Sir Lindsay, Ms Nandy said: “He’s our Speaker and he’s trusted by MPs across the house to uphold what is the right thing to do for members of parliament of all parties and for the country. That’s why you’ve seen so many Tory MPs and others rallying to his defence this week.

“What the Speaker was seeking to do was to put the widest range of options before the House and ensure that the House could come to one view.”

Asked if she could guarantee if Sir Lindsay would be reappointed as Commons Speaker if Labour won the next general election, Ms Nandy said: “No, of course I can’t, because it’s not in the gift of a political party.

“For what it’s worth, I think that he did the right thing on Wednesday in seeking to ensure we had the widest range of voices, and I think his conduct afterwards in coming to the House, in expressing his deep regret and sorrow that that hadn’t been able to happen was absolutely the right thing to do.

“I think we now need to take a long, hard look at the processes that we’ve got in Parliament to make sure we don’t have a repeat of this.”