UK Politics

Speaker John Bercow warns MPs off 'discourtesy'

Speaker John Bercow has reminded MPs that "discourtesy" is not approved of in the Commons - following a clash with a senior Conservative MP.

Mr Bercow, whose bid to become Speaker last year was opposed by many Tories, had a run-in with Tory chief whip Patrick McLoughlin on Monday.

He seemed annoyed at the way Mr Bercow handled a Labour MP's objection but was called to order as he tried to leave.

Labour MP Clive Efford told Mr Bercow he deserved an apology.

On Tuesday Mr Efford asked if the Speaker had received an apology, adding he was "increasingly distressed" by the "aggressive attitude" of some Tory MPs.

"Some of us feel that one is forthcoming," he told the Speaker.

Mr Bercow noted that the Commons "can be an excitable place" but added: "Discourtesy in the House is to be deprecated. Defiance of the chair is totally unacceptable, when it takes place I make it clear in no uncertain terms that it should not take place again.

"I think in the cold light of day any member, no matter whether that person be the newest entrant or one of the most most senior office holders will recognise that that is the way it has to be."

'No business'

Mr Bercow was a Conservative MP before being elected Speaker - backed by many Labour MPs - last year. In the role he presides over the House of Commons and is responsible for keeping order during debates and ensuring that the rules of the House are obeyed.

On Monday night he clashed with senior Tory Patrick McLoughlin, when a Labour MP objected to an attempt by the government to put a time limit on Thursday's debate on tuition fees. The objection was raised at the wrong point - and the Speaker appeared to hesitate to allow it to be made at the right time.

"Give them an indication won't you?" said Mr McLoughlin, as he attempted to leave the Commons chamber.

An annoyed looking Mr Bercow called "Order" and told him he had "No business whatsoever shouting from a sedentary position" then ordered him to remain in the chamber as he tried to leave.

Mr McLoughlin continued to try to interrupt as Mr Bercow repeatedly called "Order", telling the Speaker: "We all saw you."

Mr Bercow told him he had "absolutely no business scurrying out of the chamber" and "absolutely no business behaving in that way".

"I thought it proper to put the question. The objection had been registered, it was registered clearly, the right honourable gentleman has nothing about which to complain."

It follows a clash with another senior Conservative - Health Minister Simon Burns - earlier this year.

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