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The key moments around Lindsay Hoyle row you may have missed

More than 60 MPs back calls for Hoyle to step down on day of high emotion and drama in the Commons

Watch: Commons Speaker apologises for Gaza vote chaos

More than 60 MPs have signed a motion of no confidence in Sir Lindsay Hoyle calling for the speaker to resign over his handling of the Gaza ceasefire vote on Wednesday.

Rishi Sunak criticised Hoyle and described his conduct as “very concerning".

In an extraordinary day in the House of Commons – following an equally remarkable afternoon on Wednesday – the speaker came under increased fire from SNP and Tory MPs after he opted to select Labour's amendment for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” to be debated and voted upon before the SNP's original motion was heard.

On Thursday evening, Rishi Sunak also criticised Hoyle and described his conduct as “very concerning".

Hoyle had disregarded warnings from the House of Commons clerk over the unprecedented nature of the move, which provoked uproar in the chamber. Hoyle later explained that he had been persuaded to allow both amendments because of threats to the personal safety of many MPs, who he believed should have been able to vote on a range of options.

Labour was also accused of putting pressure on Hoyle – a Labour MP until assuming the position of speaker in 2019. On Thursday, Commons leader Penny Mordaunt said: "I would never have done to him [Hoyle] what the Labour Party have done to him. This House will never bow to extremists, threats, or intimidation. It has not, it will not, it must not.

"And I would ask all honourable members not to do this House a further disservice by suggesting that the shameful events that took place yesterday were anything other than party politics on behalf of the Labour Party.” Labour has denied putting pressure on Hoyle to select their motion.

Hoyle, who had already apologised on Wednesday, made an additional, emotional speech on Thursday in which he said he regretted his actions and offered an emergency debate on Gaza.

He said: "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 have a duty of care, and I say that, and if my mistake is looking after members, I am guilty."

However, his apology did little to mollify the SNP, with the party's Westminster leader Stephen Flynn saying the Gaza ceasefire vote had descended "into a farce because of a decision you made” and that his party does "not have confidence in your ability".

As of 4pm on Thursday, 63 MPs had signed the no confidence motion in Hoyle, up from 33 at the start of the day. Hoyle is believed to have held talks with party leaders to discuss next steps.

Read below for a summary of the key moments from a tense day in Parliament.

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  • What happens if Lindsay Hoyle quits as speaker?

    If Sir Lindsay Hoyle stands down it means MPs will have to decide on who to vote for as his replacement, just months before a general election is due to take place. Hoyle would be the second speaker in recent years to quit as a result of pressure from MPs. In 2009, the then-speaker Michael Martin resigned following political and public outcry over his handling of the MP expenses scandal.

    Hoyle resigning may mean that the deputy speakers stand in until MPs decide on a replacement. Those seeking the role would put themselves up for nomination ahead of an election of all MPs.

    Read the full story from Yahoo News.

  • Gaza vote stands

    Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt speaks in the House of Commons, London. The Government was defending the interests of the SNP during chaotic scenes in the Commons on Wednesday over a vote on Gaza, Ms Mordaunt said. Picture date: Thursday February 22, 2024.
    Penny Mordaunt said yesterday's vote stands. (PA)

    Despite Sir Lindsay Hoyle offering an emergency debate on the Gaza ceasefire amendment in the aftermath of Wednesday's chaos, Commons leader Penny Mordaunt said the vote taken yesterday stands.

    Mordaunt said: “I know honourable members will be asking questions about what happened with regard to the vote last night. I can say to honourable members I have consulted with the clerks of the House and the vote stands because it is a matter for the chair.

    “And I would encourage colleagues to go and talk to the clerks of the House to understand that more. But I fully appreciate the anger and disappointment from all sides of the House about people not being able to vote on particular motions or amendments last night and what happened after the moment of interruption.”

  • MPs branded 'a disgrace' as consensus on a Middle East ceasefire takes second place to political point-scoring

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Picture date: Wednesday February 21, 2024.
    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer managed to avoid a showdown over Gaza. (PA)

    Sir Keir Starmer started the day facing the prospect of a very sizeable rebellion and possibly even a shadow cabinet resignation or two as dozens of MPs warned that they wouldn't be able to vote against the SNP motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

    And yet he ended it becoming the first political leader to pass a motion through the Commons calling for a ceasefire after the Speaker broke with decades of precedent to allow a vote on a Labour amendment to the SNP motion.

    Read the full story from Sky News.

  • Hoyle says Gaza debate decision was motivated by threats against MPs

    Lindsay Hoyle has come out fighting in the face of Tory and Scottish National party attempts to oust him, as Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson repeatedly refused to say the prime minister has full confidence in him.

    After chaotic scenes during Wednesday’s Gaza ceasefire vote, Hoyle’s future as the Commons speaker is in doubt as the SNP said his position was untenable and dozens of backbench Tory MPs signed a motion calling for a confidence vote in him.

    Hoyle is under pressure over his handling of an SNP motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, after he opted to change parliamentary rules in order to let an alternative Labour amendment be debated as well as a government one.

    Read the full story from The Guardian.

  • A look back at the Gaza vote aftermath

    Lindsay Hoyle’s decision has resulted in an extraordinary day in Westminster. (PA)
    Lindsay Hoyle’s decision has resulted in an extraordinary day in Westminster. (PA)

    On an extraordinary day in Westminster, MPs have reflected on the chaotic scenes that unfolded in Parliament during Wednesday’s Gaza vote.

    Appearing close to tears, Sir Lindsay Hoyle told the Commons that he “made a judgment call that didn’t end up in the position where I expected it to”.

    Despite the sincere tone and emotion in his voice, Hoyle’s efforts were nonetheless still met with fury by the SNP – particularly the party’s leader in Westminster, Stephen Flynn. Remaining eloquent and calm as he spoke to an eerily silent House as his own MPs seethed behind him, Flynn cut the tension with a targeted attack on Hoyle for allowing the vote to “descend into a farce because of a decision you made”.

    Addressing Hoyle directly as he asked for a vote of no confidence, Flynn said that his party does not believe the speaker can continue in his role, adding: “We do not have confidence in your ability to do so.”

    Commons leader Penny Mordaunt also spoke precisely and with vitriol in her voice – but she chose to target the Labour Party rather than the speaker.

    Defending Hoyle as a “decent man”, Mordaunt said Labour should “reflect on the damage” it has done to the office of the speaker. Placing Labour firmly in her sights, Mordaunt – who is perhaps already auditioning to be the next Tory leader – added: “I would never have done to him what the Labour Party have done to him.”

  • Hoyle 'obsessed' with MPs' safety, says senior Tory

    SNP and Conservative MPs have walked out of the Commons chamber in the House of Commons in London, in an apparent protest over the Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle's handling of the Gaza ceasefire debate. Picture date: Wednesday February 21, 2024.
    SNP and Conservative MPs walked out of the Commons in an apparent protest over the Sir Lindsay Hoyle's handling of the Gaza ceasefire debate. (PA)

    Senior Tory MP Charles Walker said Sir Lindsay Hoyle is “obsessed” with the safety of MPs and it is “almost certain” that was the reason behind the speaker’s move on Wednesday.

    Walker said the decision was a “mistake”, but told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “I don’t think there was any malice behind it.

    “I sit with him on the House of Commons Commission and I can testify to the fact that he is obsessed with the safety of Members of Parliament and their staff and all those that work on the precinct of the Palace of Westminster.

    “And I am almost certain that is what motivated the decision yesterday – to make sure everybody in the House of Commons had a chance to vote for something that they could vote for.”

  • Humza Yousaf brands Speaker's position 'untenable' amid no confidence calls

    Scotland's first minister Humza Yousaf has called Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle’s position “untenable”.

    It comes after SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn called for a vote of no confidence in Hoyle as a result of his handling of the Gaza vote.

    Speaking to journalists following First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, he was asked if the Speaker should go.

    Yousaf said: “As Stephen (Flynn) my colleague has said, he has serious questions to answer. His position looks to me to be untenable.

    “What we saw was frankly disgraceful, chaotic scenes in the House of Commons."

    Read the full story from The National.

  • Lindsay Hoyle: ‘I have duty of care to protect people’

    Lindsay Hoyle has apologised again but said he was trying to protect MPs. (Reuters)
    Lindsay Hoyle has apologised again but said he was trying to protect MPs. (Reuters)

    Lindsay Hoyle once again apologised for his “judgement call” on Wednesday – but insisted he was “guilty… of a duty of care that I will carry out to protect people”. Addressing MPs after SNP leader Stephen Flynn called for a vote of no confidence in the speaker, Hoyle said: “I regret it… I apologise and I apologise to the House. I made a mistake. We do make mistakes. I own up to mine.” Hoyle said that he had meetings with police about threats to MPs, adding: “I have seen, I have witnessed, I won’t share the details, but the details of the things that have been brought to me are absolutely frightening on all members of this House, on all sides. I have a duty of care, and I say that, and if my mistake is looking after Members I am guilty.”

  • Watch: Stephen Flynn calls for a confidence vote in Lindsay Hoyle

    With emotions still high following the Gaza vote, SNP’s leader in Westminster, Stephen Flynn, has called for a vote of no confidence in Lindsay Hoyle.

    Speaking in the Commons on Thursday – while Hoyle listened on – Flynn said that Wednesday night's events represented the "best of this House and it's ability to debate" but also the "worst of this House, as it descended into farce" because of the decision taken by the speaker.

    Flynn said the debate turned into “a Labour debate” and said the SNP does not believe Hoyle should remain as speaker, and asked what can be done to schedule a vote of no confidence in the Commons.

  • Keir Starmer denies threatening speaker

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer speaking to the media during a visit to Siemens Traincare in Three Bridges, Crawley, West Sussex, to discuss how Labour will help Britain's long term sick get back to work. Picture date: Thursday February 22, 2024.
    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has denied threatening Lindsay Hoyle before the Gaza debate. (PA)

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has denied threatening Lindsay Hoyle to select Labour’s amendment in the Gaza ceasefire debate. With questions still mounting as to what Starmer said to Hoyle before he approved Labour’s bid to alter the SNP motion, Starmer insisted he “simply urged” Hoyle to have “the broadest possible debate” by putting a number of options in front of MPs.

    Speaking in Sussex on Thursday, Starmer said: “I can categorically tell you that I did not threaten the speaker in any way whatsoever. I simply urged to ensure that we have the broadest possible debate so that actually the most important thing, which is what do we do about the situation in Gaza, could be properly discussed by MPs with a number of options in front of them.”

  • Rishi Sunak refuses to back speaker

    Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gestures, in a question and answer session with National Farmers' Union (NFU) President Minette Batters, during the annual National Farmers' Union (NFU) conference, at the ICC in Birmingham, central England, Tuesday Feb. 20, 2024. (Adrian Dennis/ Pool Photo via AP)
    Prime minister Rishi Sunak has not said whether he has confidence in Lindsay Hoyle. (AP)

    Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman has repeatedly refused to say whether the prime minister has confidence in Sir Lindsay Hoyle when questioned on Thursday.

    While Penny Mordaunt defended the speaker in the Commons, Sunak’s spokesman swerved the question of whether the prime minister backed Hoyle.

    The spokesman said: “The prime minister’s focus is on addressing the situation in the Middle East. And as I say, that is what he’s spending his time focused on. Matters for the House, as I say, are matters for the House.”

  • Penny Mordaunt blames Labour for Commons chaos

    Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt speaks in the House of Commons, London. The Government was defending the interests of the SNP during chaotic scenes in the Commons on Wednesday over a vote on Gaza, Ms Mordaunt said. Picture date: Thursday February 22, 2024.
    Leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt, placed the blame on Wednesday’s scenes on Labour. (Alamy)

    Commons leader Penny Mordaunt focused the blame for Wednesday’s chaotic scenes in Parliament squarely on Labour, as she addressed MPs on Thursday. Defending Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Mordaunt described him as a “decent man” and attacked Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, saying he is “happy to do what he knows to be wrong”.

    Mordaunt added: “I would never have done to him [Hoyle] what the Labour Party have done to him. This House will never bow to extremists, threats, or intimidation. It has not, it will not, it must not.

    "And I would ask all honourable members not to do this House a further disservice by suggesting that the shameful events that took place yesterday were anything other than party politics on behalf of the Labour Party.”

  • How does a new speaker get elected?

    Lindsay Hoyle (centre) being dragged to the speaker's chair after becoming the new Speaker of the House of Commons in 2019. (PA)
    Sir Lindsay Hoyle being dragged to the speaker's chair after becoming the new speaker of the House of Commons in 2019. (PA)

    Should Sir Lindsay Hoyle actually quit, then a new speaker will have to be elected.

    It is for MPs to vote for their preferred candidate out of those who put their names forward. A candidate who receives over 50% of the vote would face a question put to the House that they take the chair as speaker.

    However, this is mainly a matter of tradition. If no candidate receives over 50% of the vote, the one with the lowest vote – or those on less than 5% – are eliminated. The vote takes place again until one candidate receives more than half the votes.

    The successful candidate is then physically dragged to the chair by MPs. This custom is meant to show how speakers would in the past need to be persuaded to take the role as monarchs could execute a speaker for not communicating favourable opinions.

  • Watch: Lindsay Hoyle apologises after Gaza ceasefire vote descends into chaos

    These are the extraordinary scenes in the Commons on Wednesday after MPs called on Sir Lindsay Hoyle to return to the chamber to explain why he broke with parliamentary convention.

    Amid shouts of “resign”, Hoyle told MPs he “thought I was doing the right thing and the best thing, and I regret it, and I apologise for how it’s ended up”.

  • When did Lindsay Hoyle become speaker?

    Britain's Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle sits in the Speaker's State Coach as it returns to Westminster, ahead of the coronation of Britain's King Charles III, in London, Sunday, April 30, 2023. The gilded coach, which was last seen in the historic Westminster Hall in 2005, will be on display once again from 2 May to the Autumn, to commemorate the crowning of King Charles III. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
    Sir Lindsay Hoyle was elected Commons speaker in November 2019. (PA)

    Sir Lindsay Hoyle was elected as the Labour MP for Chorley in 1997 and served as a backbench MP before becoming deputy commons speaker in 2010. It wasn’t until 4 November 2019, after former speaker John Bercow resigned, that Hoyle was elected to take over the role.
    He comfortably beat his rival in the contest, Labour MP Chris Bryant, pulling in 60% of the vote. He told MPs in his acceptance speech that would be “transparent” and would oversee the Commons “change for the better”.

  • Sir Lindsay Hoyle urged to 'come clean' as dozens of MPs call for him to go

    Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is being urged to "come clean" about whether Labour tried to influence his handling of a debate on Gaza which descended into chaos.

    The SNP said he needs to make a "make a personal statement" detailing all of his meetings and communications with the Labour leadership ahead of yesterday's motion.

    Stephen Flynn, the party's Westminster leader, told Sky News he believed there was a "stich up" between the Speaker and Labour over the amendments - something Labour has denied.

    Read the full story from Sky News.

  • What is the role of the speaker?

    Lindsay Hoyle, as speaker of the House, has many responsibilities. (PA)
    Sir Lindsay Hoyle has many responsibilities as speaker of the House. (PA)

    The speaker’s main role is to chair debates in the House of Commons, as MPs discuss new laws or scrutinise the government.

    As an impartial member of the House, the speaker will not favour any particular party and should act fairly when calling MPs to speak or when keeping order during debates.

    They should ensure that all points of view can be expressed when possible, while they will also decide on other matters like whether to allow an urgent question or suspending debates. In the day to day, the speaker quietens members so others can be heard and also enforce the rules of the House – which could include call on MPs to withdraw remarks that are deemed unparliamentary.

    The speaker also represents the Commons in visits to the monarch or other dignitaries, while also chairing the House of Commons Commission, which oversees the general administration of the House.

  • Labour MPs show support for Hoyle

    Sir Lindsay Hoyle is not just facing criticism – he has also received some backing from Labour MPs this morning. Barry Sheerman insisted Hoyle should be “thanked and supported”.

    Meanwhile, Jim McMahon said that he was a “decent man” – adding that those signing a no confidence motion should “grow up”.

  • Revealed: Top official's letter warning speaker about rule change for Gaza motion

    The speaker of the House of Commons was warned that he would depart from "long-established convention" by allowing Labour to table an amendment to the SNP’s motion on a ceasefire in Gaza, according to a letter from his top adviser.

    Tom Goldsmith, who as “Clerk of the House” is the chief adviser on matters of parliamentary procedure, warned Hoyle that his decision had no precedent in the last 25 years.

    Read the full story from The National.

  • Is Lindsay Hoyle a Labour MP?

    London, UK. 16th Jan, 2024. betty boothroyd, former Commons Speaker, memorial service at St Margaet's Church Westminster London UK Lindsay Hoyle Commons Speaker Credit: Ian Davidson/Alamy Live News
    Sir Lindsay Hoyle resigned as a member of the Labour Party after he was elected Commons speaker. (PA)

    Sir Lindsay Hoyle is not technically a member of any political party due to his role as Commons speaker. When elected to the role, a speaker must resign from the political party they are a member of so that they remain impartial when chairing debates.

    But Hoyle is an MP for the constituency of Chorley and represented Labour before becoming speaker. In fact, the Labour Party is in his roots, as his father is former Labour MP Doug Hoyle.

    Hoyle was also a Labour councillor before he became an MP and in 1980 he became the youngest councillor ever to be elected in Chorley in 1980. He has kept his seat as Chorley MP ever since 1997, when he was the first Labour candidate to be elected there for 18 years.

  • Final vote was 'good thing', says Labour MP

    Labour's Chris Bryant wrote a thread on X (previously Twitter) about Wednesday's proceedings including that the final vote was a good thing.

  • Shadow defence secretary says it's 'untrue' Hoyle was put under pressure

    Labour's shadow defence secretary denied that Sir Lindsay Hoyle was put under pressure by the party to break with convention and select Labour's motion on Gaza for debate.

    “That is totally untrue that he was put under pressure,” John Healey told the BBC. “That is rejected by the speaker. It’s been rejected by Labour. He was trying to ensure rightly, the widest possible debate. He is there to protect the interest of all MPs.

    “What he is trying to do is ensure that the House of Commons had a vote from the three different propositions, from the three main parties. And he was doing that because he knew it matter to parliament, it matters to our communities and it matters to people around the world what British people and British parliament does to advance the cause of peace.”

  • MPs branded 'a disgrace' as consensus on a Middle East ceasefire takes second place to political point-scoring

    Sir Keir Starmer started the day facing the prospect of a very sizeable rebellion and possibly even a shadow cabinet resignation or two as dozens of MPs warned that they wouldn't be able to vote against the SNP motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

    And yet he ended it becoming the first political leader to pass a motion through the Commons calling for a ceasefire after the Speaker broke with decades of precedent to allow a vote on a Labour amendment to the SNP motion.

    Read the full story from Sky News.

  • Minister fails to back Hoyle staying after chaos in parliament over Gaza ceasefire vote

    February 22, 2024, London, England, United Kingdom: MARIA CAULFIELD, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Women) and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Mental Health and Women’s Health Strategy), is seen in Westminster during morning media round as she announces government’s baby loss certificates for babies lost before 24 weeks gestation. (Credit Image: © Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE!
    Maria Caulfield did not back Sir Lindsay Hoyle remaining in his role as speaker. (ZUMA Press Wire)

    A minister has refused to back Sir Lindsay Hoyle staying as Speaker after a day of chaos in Parliament over a Gaza vote.

    But Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt also faced questions over why the Government suddenly pulled Tory participation in the votes on Wednesday night.

    Health minister Maria Caulfield, on the media round for the Government, said the Speaker was in a “difficult position”.

    “I would struggle now to support him but let’s see what happens in the next 24/48 hours,” she told Sky News.

    Read the full story from the Evening Standard.

  • What has Sir Lindsay Hoyle said?

    SNP and Conservative MPs have walked out of the Commons chamber in the House of Commons in London, in an apparent protest over the Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle's handling of the Gaza ceasefire debate. Picture date: Wednesday February 21, 2024.
    SNP and Conservative MPs walked out of the Commons in an apparent protest over Sir Lindsay Hoyle's handling of the Gaza ceasefire debate. (PA)

    Sir Lindsay Hoyle has apologied for his actions over the Gaza ceasefire debate, pledging to talk with senior party figures to smooth things over.

    "I thought I was doing the right thing and the best thing, and I regret it, and I apologise for how it’s ended up," he said.

  • What happened in Commons ceasefire debate?

    The row erupted when Sir Lindsay Hoyle decided the Commons would first vote on Labour’s amendment before moving on to further votes on the SNP’s original motion and then a government proposal seeking an “immediate humanitarian pause”.

    He disregarded warnings from the House of Commons clerk over the unprecedented nature of the move, which provoked uproar in the chamber.

    Labour’s amendment ended up passing unopposed without a formal vote after the government pulled its participation.

    It marked the first time the Commons formally backed an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, though the government does not have to adopt the position as the vote is not binding.

    The SNP were ultimately unable to vote on their proposition calling for “an immediate ceasefire”, which was meant to be the focus of their opposition day.

  • Westminster 'made vote about Westminster', says SNP

    The SNP's Westminster leader Stephen Flynn accused MPs of making the Gaza vote "about Westminster" following the move by Sir Lindsay Hoyle to allow Labour's motion to be debated and voted upon before the SNP's own amendment.