Moment Speaker rebukes Boris Johnson for showing lack of respect during COVID row

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·2-min read

Watch: Speaker rebukes Boris Johnson for labelling Keir Starmer 'hypocritical'

This is the moment House of Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle rebukes Boris Johnson for labelling Sir Keir Starmer a hypocrite.

It came after Labour leader Starmer attacked Johnson over the latest free school meals row, in which the PM was forced to intervene after images of poor-quality food parcels were widely shared on social media.

Starmer, speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, said it “shouldn’t have taken social media to shame the PM into action”.

An angry Johnson responded: “[Starmer’s] words would be less hypocritical and absurd if it were not for the fact that…”

Boris Johnson was told by Sir Lindsay Hoyle: 'Please, let’s keep the discipline in this chamber.' (Parliamentlive.tv)
Boris Johnson was told by Sir Lindsay Hoyle: 'Please, let’s keep the discipline in this chamber.' (Parliamentlive.tv)

Hoyle then intervened: “I don’t think anybody’s a hypocrite in this chamber. I think we need to be a little bit careful about what we say to each other.”

He added: “Please, let’s keep the discipline in this chamber and the respect for each other.

“We’re tidying up how this Parliament behaves and I certainly expect the leadership of both parties to ensure that takes place.”

After calling for Johnson to withdraw his use of “hypocrisy”, the PM said he would be “delighted” to – but continued to accuse Starmer of “absurdity”, citing the free school meal policies put in place by his government during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Johnson had earlier condemned some of the free school meal offerings being sent to families as “disgraceful”.

He said photos of meals delivered to parents during the latest lockdown were “appalling” and an “insult” to the families who had received them.

His comments came after Manchester United footballer and free school meals campaigner Marcus Rashford said he had spoken to Johnson about the issues, and that he was told “a full review of the supply chain” was under way.

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Wednesday’s rebuke, meanwhile, was not the first Johnson has received from Hoyle at PMQs.

In November last year, Hoyle made a veiled threat to mute the PM – who was appearing via video-link in self-isolation – after he asked questions of Starmer, rather than the other way round.

And in October, Hoyle told off Johnson over his government treating Parliament with “contempt” by choosing not to introduce coronavirus legislation in the Commons.

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown