The six strangest moments from Parliament’s prorogation protest

The six strangest moments from Parliament's prorogation protest
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Early this morning at around 2am, the Commons witnessed some of the most extraordinary behaviour seen in the Chamber in living memory, as MPs attempted to protest the prorogation of parliament.

Below are the strangest moments from the morning:


Labour MPs attempted to stop the Speaker John Bercow from leaving his seat as he was called to the Lords to carry out the formal procedure for proroguing parliament. The left-wing MP for Brighton Kemptown and famed mace swinger Lloyd Russell-Moyle briefly lay across Bercow's lap before being pulled off by a member of Commons staff.

The state of this. Some of these parliamentarians were the same ones who thought it was an outrage that Rees-Mogg had a lie down last week. All as bad as one another

— Matt Chorley (@MattChorley) September 10, 2019


Bercow made one of his signature verbose pronouncements, declaring the government's prorogation 'an act of executive fiat' – never mind the centuries-old convention of an impartial Speaker.

“This is not a normal prorogation... it is one of the longest for decades, and it represents an act of executive fiat”

Speaker John Bercow makes his views on suspending Parliament clear, as MPs sit for the last time until 14 October

— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) September 10, 2019


This was followed by MPs jeering at Black Rod as she attempted to address the Speaker and execute her constitutional duty to announce the ending of the parliamentary session. Meanwhile, the shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler led a band of Labour MPs waving signs bearing the phrase 'silenced'.

In unprecedented scenes, some MPs protest against the suspension of Parliament – waving signs saying "silenced", and shouting "shame on you"

— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) September 10, 2019

Stephen Morgan, the Labour MP for Portsmouth South also shared a dramatic photo of the parliamentary protesters:

Bercow the hero

— Stephen Morgan MP (@StephenMorganMP) September 10, 2019


MPs decided to engage in a late-night singsong (that'll show Boris Johnson). The Welsh are known for their tradition of voice choirs and Plaid Cymru undoubtedly won the informal showdown with their performance of 'Calon Lân'.

The Welsh members also gave us a beautiful song. With harmony! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

— Hannah Bardell 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏳️‍🌈 (@HannahB4LiviMP) September 10, 2019


The SNP decided to treat the Chamber to a less-than-rousing performance of the 'Scots Wha Hae', a traditional Scottish anthem that ends with the rousing phrase 'Let us do or die!' A sentiment clearly shared by the current Prime Minister.

And now we’re singing - Scots Wha Hae from @theSNP benches👇

— Hannah Bardell 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏳️‍🌈 (@HannahB4LiviMP) September 10, 2019


While Labour gave a slightly half-hearted rendition of 'The Red Flag', a performance that lacked the harmonies of both the SNP and Plaid Cymru – surely not a reflection on the party's current political unity...

I know you’re not meant to film in the chamber, but everyone on the opposition benches is singing and this moment was beautiful.

— Danielle Rowley MP (@DaniRowley) September 10, 2019

Labour backbencher Clive Lewis later tweeted that their attempt to stop Bercow from leaving the Speaker's chair harkened back to 1629.

Tonight in the chamber @LoveSocialism Labour and Green MPs symbolically opposed the prorogation of Parliament. It was based on the 1629 event, where MPs pinned the Speaker to his seat in an attempt to prevent the prorogation of Parliament. #DefendDemocracy #OurParliamentSilenced

— Clive Lewis MP (@labourlewis) September 10, 2019

During the reign of Charles I, parliamentarians attempted to stop the King from raising taxes. In response, the Stuart monarch decided to dissolve parliament and refused to recall MPs during what became known as the 'eleven years of tyranny' - not quite the same as a five-week break for conference. It seems Charles I isn't the only person to lose their head over prorogation...

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to

Topics in this articlePoliticsjohn bercow