Labour MP calls for probe after MPs ‘bullied’ during fracking vote

A Labour former minister has urged the Commons Deputy Speaker to launch an investigation after he saw MPs being “physically manhandled” and “bullied” into the voting lobby.

His allegations came after the Government won a vote in Parliament on fracking it had earlier told Tory MPs it was treating as a confidence vote.

Labour’s motion was defeated by 230 votes to 326, majority 96, but the vote descended into chaos with Commons Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing at some point asking to investigate the delay in the No lobby.

After the vote was announced, Chris Bryant urged her to investigate the “scenes outside the entrance to the No lobby” and alleged MPs were “bullied” and “physically manhandled” to vote.

Labour MP Chris Bryant (Yui Mok/PA)
Labour MP Chris Bryant (Yui Mok/PA)

Raising a point of order, the MP for Rhondda said: “I would urge you to launch an investigation into the scenes outside the entrance to the No lobby earlier.

“As you know, members are expected to be able to vote without fear or favour and the behaviour code which is agreed by the whole of the House says there shall never be bullying or harassment.

“I saw members being physically manhandled into another lobby and being bullied.

“If we want to stand up against bullying in this House of our staff, we have to stop bullying in this chamber as well.”

Dame Eleanor replied: “The honourable member raises an important matter about behaviour and he knows better than anyone else that we have an extremely good system for it for investigating allegations of bullying, intimidation or bad behaviour.

“And if the honourable gentleman cares to bring evidence and facts to me, I will make sure that the matter is properly investigated.”

Lib Dem chief whip Wendy Chamberlain told the PA news agency she had only heard reports about what happened in the no lobby, but added there appeared to be grounds for an investigation.

She said: “It certainly sounds like there needs to be an urgent investigation and I understand the Speaker is speaking to Madam Deputy Speaker now. But yes, I think we are looking at there should be a degree of censure for that kind of behaviour.

“There are plenty of eyewitnesses, frankly. There will not be just eyewitnesses who are other MPs, they will be doorkeepers et cetera.

“It is a horrendous loss of discipline and, just frankly, what message does it send to the country that people feel it is appropriate to behave in that way in this place when they are supposed to be representing their constituents?”