Speaker rules against Starmer using Queen’s actions to challenge Johnson at PMQs

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Sir Keir Starmer’s decision to challenge Boris Johnson by drawing upon the Queen’s pandemic experiences backfired in the Commons after the Speaker ruled against its use.

The Labour leader attempted to compare the behaviour of the Queen sitting alone at the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh to Mr Johnson’s actions linked to Downing Street party allegations.

But Sir Lindsay Hoyle insisted discussions about the royal family were not matters for MPs to get into and stopped the Prime Minister from needing to answer the claims.

Erskine May – which outlines parliamentary procedure – states: “No question can be put which brings the name of the sovereign or the influence of the Crown directly before Parliament, or which casts reflections upon the sovereign or the royal family.”

Questions are allowed on matters such as costs to the public of funding royal events and royal palaces.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Keir said: “Last year Her Majesty the Queen sat alone when she marked the passing of the man she’d been married to for 73 years, she followed the rules of the country that she leads.

“On the eve of that funeral, a suitcase was filled with booze and wheeled into Downing Street, a DJ played and staff partied late into the night.

“The Prime Minister has been forced to hand an apology to Her Majesty the Queen.

“Isn’t he ashamed that he didn’t hand in his resignation at the same time?”

A view of the opposition benches during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons
A view of the opposition benches during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons (House of Commons/PA)

But Speaker Sir Lindsay, intervening, said: “We normally would not, quite rightly, mention the royal family. We don’t get into discussions on the royal family.”

Mr Johnson added: “Well in that case, Mr Speaker, I must ask (Sir Keir) to withdraw it.”

Sir Lindsay said he had dealt with it before Mr Johnson got back to his feet and tried to say some more.

But Mr Johnson was pulled back to his seat by Chancellor Rishi Sunak tugging on the Prime Minister’s jacket.

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