UK Politics

Speaker John Bercow issues Prime Minister's Questions warning

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Media captionThe Speaker says PMQs was "more noisy than I have ever known it"

Speaker John Bercow has warned MPs from all parties about their behaviour in the Commons after an "unedifying" session of Prime Minister's Questions.

He constantly had to intervene during Wednesday's session, dominated by a row over party funding, complaining at one point about a "wall of noise".

Later in the Commons, he said MPs must consider what those outside Parliament thought about the tone of proceedings.

"It was as noisy, if not more noisy, than I have ever known it," he said.

During the half-hour session, David Cameron and Ed Miliband clashed over proposed reforms to Labour's links with the trade unions, donations to the Conservatives from the City and proposed reforms to party funding and MPs' outside earnings.

'Poor behaviour'

Responding an hour later to a point of order from Labour's Paul Flynn, Mr Bercow - who is responsible for keeping order in the House of Commons - criticised the conduct of MPs during the most high-profile session of the parliamentary week.

"I thought it was a very unedifying spectacle," he said. "It was as noisy, if not more noisy than I have ever known it.

"I would ask members on both sides of the chamber, as I have done many times over the years, to give some thought to the way our proceedings are regarded by people outside of this House whose support we seek and whom we are here to represent.

"Frankly, the behaviour by very large numbers of people was poor."

He added: "Let us aspire and take steps at all levels to ensure it improves in subsequent weeks. That is the responsibility of every member and right honourable member from the person most recently arrived to the most longest serving."

Mr Bercow, who has made a series of high-profile interventions in recent weeks, said this ruling applied to Cabinet ministers and shadow frontbenchers as well as backbenchers.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said he never intended to cause any offence after he was accused of calling a Labour MP a "stupid woman" during prime minister's questions.

Also on Wednesday, Democratic Unionist MP Nigel Dodds was suspended from the Commons for the day after he accused Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers of giving a "deliberately deceptive" answer in the chamber.

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