Lindsay hoyle

What happened in the Commons chaos last night?

16 min listen

The Commons descended into farce and chaos last night. The SNP were not able to vote on their own motion on their own Opposition Day debate; the Conservatives walked out of the chamber in protest; and Lindsay Hoyle seemed tearful as he seemed to apologise for how the Gaza debate went down. On the episode, Cindy Yu talks to Katy Balls and Chris Ward, director at Hanbury Strategy and former deputy chief of staff to Keir Starmer. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Has Lindsay Hoyle overstepped?

12 min listen

Sir Keir Starmer can breathe a sigh of relief this afternoon, thanks to Lindsay Hoyle. The Speaker has selected Labour’s amendment on a Gaza ceasefire, which means that a likely mass rebellion from Labour MPs will be averted. SNP and Tory MPs are furious at Hoyle, and say that he has tried to rewrite the rules. What’s going on? Katy Balls speaks to James Heale and Isabel Hardman. Produced by Cindy Yu.

PMQs proved that we have too many politicians

PMQs drove up a cul-de-sac today. Sir Keir’s team of researchers have discovered a crime blackspot where ten houses have been burgled in the last 18 months, but only one of these offences has ended up in court. This delighted Sir Keir as it gave him a chance to remind the world that he once worked as a prosecutor. Even better, the benighted cul-de-sac happens to be in Yorkshire where Rishi Sunak’s constituency is located. Crime dominated the session because Sir Keir brought up Baroness Casey’s end-of-term report on the London police force. The cops have fluffed it, according to the baroness, and their ranks are now overflowing with sexists,

Hoyle and grandees declare war on booze

First it was drugs, then it was the press. Now Lindsay Hoyle and the grandees on the House of Commons Commission have turned their guns on the demon drink in a bid to restore parliament’s reputation. They are seeking to end the age-old tradition of ‘Thirsty Thursdays’ in the Palace of Westminster, whereby staff enjoy the freedom of the place while their bosses return to their constituencies for weekend meetings with voters. For now changes have been announced today to restrict the access to Strangers’ Bar by the Thames: the favoured watering hole of thirsty MPs who fancy a quick snifter between votes. From tomorrow, the bar will close at

Mail hits back at Speaker

After cross-party condemnation and a Commons summons by Lindsay Hoyle, it was only natural that the Mail would hit back over its Angela Rayner story. The Daily Mail has today ridden to the rescue of its sister newspaper the Mail on Sunday, aiming a double-barrelled blast at both the Speaker and Labour’s deputy leader. In a typically strident front page splash, it roars ‘No, Mister Speaker!’ declaring that David Dillon, the editor of the Sunday paper, will not appear before Hoyle to explain a report which suggested Rayner tries to distract Boris Johnson at PMQs, in the manner of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. The Daily Mail claims that three more MPs have now

Lindsay Hoyle should be quiet on Angela Rayner

What’s up with Lindsay Hoyle? On Monday, the Speaker opened the afternoon session of parliament with a statement about the puerile gossip surrounding Angela Rayner. He called the story in the Mail on Sunday, ‘misogynistic’ and ‘offensive to women in parliament.’ Such tasteless yarns, he went on, ‘can only deter women who might be considering standing for election – to the detriment of us all.’ His remedy was to call two meetings. First, a tete-a-tete with Rayner herself. Secondly, a conference with the Mail on Sunday editor and the chair of the press lobby. Several questions arise. The less urgent issue is why he wished to meet Rayner personally? She

Speaker goes for the Mail over Rayner

Westminster has been ablaze with indignation. What’s the cause this time – another Downing Street lockdown party? No, on this occasion it’s an article in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday about Angela Rayner. The Deputy Labour leader was accused by an anonymous Tory MP of ‘flashing’ the Prime Minister at PMQs, in the manner of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. The article’s publication prompted a storm of online criticism, with even the Prime Minister feeling it necessary to weigh in and offer Rayner his support. Conservative backbencher Caroline Nokes – the chair of the women and equalities select committee – meanwhile wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons to ask whether the

Warburton’s toast as Lindsay declares war on drink

Sunday: a day of rest, church and more headlines about Tory MPs misbehaving. Today’s unfortunate backbencher is David Warburton, who faces the unholy trinity of allegations about sex, drugs and undeclared Russian loans. The Somerset MP has now had the party whip withdrawn, following claims he took cocaine and was sexually inappropriate towards three women. He denies any wrongdoing. The excesses of the parliamentary Conservative party are by no means the only booze-related story in today’s newspapers. It appears that Lindsay Hoyle isn’t a fan of Mr S’s dispatches about sloshed parliamentary staffers snoozing off their hangovers overnight in their offices.  For the Speaker has now reportedly launched a ‘new crackdown’ on the

Lindsay Hoyle praises dodgy doners

As the Ukraine crisis worsened last night, where else would politicos be except the British Kebab Awards – which celebrate all that is good about the humble kebab shop. Alongside journalists, bag-handlers and spinners, a raft of politicians were queuing up to pay tribute to the industry including shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy and education minister Nadhim Zahawi, who delivered a fiery denunciation of Putin from the lectern. The guest of honour though was Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle. The Chorley MP used the occasion to both condemn what was happening in Ukraine and then reveal his own love of cooked meat dishes. He told the raucous attendees that:

Lindsay Hoyle is turning into John Bercow

Sir Keir Starmer has a weakness, and the Tories have spotted it. His weakness is Sir Lindsay Hoyle. The Speaker likes to interrupt PMQs when noise in the chamber exceeds a threshold known only to him. During Sir Keir’s cross-examination of Boris today, he broke in three times to deliver pompous mini-sermons that might have been scripted by John Bercow. ‘Our constituents are very interested to hear this,’ said Hoyle, having told Sir Keir to sit down. The rowdies were ordered to ‘please leave quietly’. No one left. That should have told him that a game was afoot. He himself pointed out that the shouts and jibes originate from the

Watch: Hoyle slaps down Boris

John Bercow may have gone but his successor is faring little better with the government. Relations between No. 10 and Lindsay Hoyle have been decidedly frosty in recent months, thanks in part to the Speaker’s mounting irritation with ministers continually making announcements to the press before Parliament. Now the row over Owen Paterson and the humiliating u-turn over the standards committee has only made things worse, with Hoyle clearly angry at the way in which Parliament has been dragged into an avoidable sleaze scandal. Today that frustration was for all to see when the Speaker issued not one, but two, magisterial putdowns to Boris Johnson. As the latter sought to duck Keir

Double bubble for MPs’ passholders

Far from being a ‘storm in a teacup’ – in the famous last words of George Eustice – the Westminster sleaze scandal shows no sign of abating. As day 13 rolls around, Cabinet members Jacob Rees-Mogg and Grant Shapps are respectively facing questions about £6 million of undeclared loans and, er, spending taxpayers’ money on lobbyists fighting the government’s own plans to build on private runways. Surreal stuff. Few MPs have featured as much in the discourse around ‘second jobs’ as Geoffrey Cox, the baritone barrister who juggles his judicial jaunts with his duties in Torridge and West Devon. One of Steerpike’s readers has written in to note wryly that on Cox’s

Watch: Hoyle’s mix-up in race debate

Oh dear. It’s not been the best of weeks for Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle. First, there was the debacle over the Standards Commissioner all of last week. Then Hoyle’s plans to review existing standards procedures leaked on Sunday – something no doubt of deep embarrassment to the Speaker, in light of his constant criticisms of ministers briefing policy to the press before Parliament. And now, Hoyle has made something of an unfortunate gaffe in a parliamentary debate on the racism row at Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Attempting to call Labour MP Imran Hussain, the sexagenerian Speaker mixed him up to instead produce the fictitious MP ‘Mohammad Hussain’ – prompting muted rebukes from

Could the Speaker cancel the Budget?

Lindsay Hoyle is, to put it mildly, on the warpath. The Speaker is now giving almost daily statements in which he complains about the government’s habit of making announcements to the media rather than in parliament. Last week he was furious that Health Secretary Sajid Javid had held a Downing Street press briefing on Covid instead of coming to the Commons. Yesterday he granted four urgent questions as punishment for the latest round of briefings. Today he was back fulminating again, telling the chamber that the government was breaking its own ministerial code by giving Budget announcements to the press first. He continued:  I want the House and especially the

Why is No. 10 snubbing the Commons?

The Speaker was annoyed again today when the government only offered the Commons a Covid update after the Health Secretary’s press briefing yesterday. Labour hauled vaccines minister Maggie Throup to the chamber for an urgent question. Before she had a chance to answer, Lindsay Hoyle scolded her superiors. ‘This is not acceptable and, as I have warned the government, in those circumstances, I will allow the House the earliest opportunity to hear from a minister: in this case by an urgent question,’ he said. He added that Sajid Javid should not have been speculating about whether MPs should wear masks without coming to talk to MPs themselves in the Commons:

The lockdown delay has triggered a constitutional crisis

It is not the Battle of Marston Moor, but it strikes me that we are now in something of a constitutional crisis following the Speaker’s dramatic outburst this afternoon. In response to points of order about the fact Boris Johnson is announcing lockdown changes in a press conference rather than to parliament, Hoyle said that he had been told no decisions had been taken only to find out that there was an embargoed document setting out what changes were coming. A visibly furious Hoyle declared from the chair that: ‘This House is being misled’. Considering that misleading the House is a resigning matter, this is a remarkably serious accusation for


Watch: Hoyle accuses government of misleading the House

The Speaker was not holding back this afternoon when asked by Sir Edward Leigh about Boris Johnson’s 6 p.m. Covid press conference. Lindsay Hoyle laid into the government from the Speaker’s chair, accusing ministers of disrespecting parliament for failing to inform the House first of all changes to Covid restrictions. Indeed he even claimed that parliament was originally not going to be updated on the changes until tomorrow before the Speaker put his foot down and ordered a statement tonight. The mild-mannered Hoyle did not hold back, telling members: ‘This House needs to know first. I find it totally unacceptable that once again, we see Downing Street running roughshod over members

PMQs: Hoyle takes on Johnson

What is Prime Ministers’ Questions? Is it a simple contest of ideas? Or is it a judicial roasting in which a lone defendant, governed by strict rules, must face an army of malign inquisitors? Boris thinks it’s an open debate about policy. Speaker Hoyle sees it as a court-hearing over which he presides as judge and procedural expert. Today they clashed. It began with Sir Keir Starmer blowing holes in Boris’s botched catch-up plan for schools. A government wonk, Sir Kevan Collins, had ordered huge sums to be lavished on the programme but the Treasury declined. Boris agreed with the Treasury. And Sir Kevan flounced off into obscurity leaving a

Will Lindsay get his chariot back?

As Speaker, John Bercow could never be accused of underselling his position. During his tenure the diminutive parliamentarian attracted criticism for everything from his £37,000 portrait and coat of arms to his £45,000 apartment refurbishment to a £1,000 taxi journey. But one free ride Bercow did decline was the official Speaker’s State Coach, a gilded 17th century carriage traditionally used for coronations. The oldest of the three great State coaches – alongside equivalent vehicles for the monarch and Lord Mayor of London – Bercow had it loaned out in 2011 to the National Trust’s Arlington Court Carriage Museum in Devon, saying: ‘Now it no longer has any practical role in

Watch: Lindsay Hoyle blasts the online tiers

Mr Steerpike was not exactly impressed when the government launched a new website feature this morning to tell people which tier they were going to be in – and which promptly crashed, leaving people in limbo. But if you were left disappointed by the tech blunder, that was nothing compared to the Speaker of the House’s reaction, when he found out in Parliament the government had put the new tiers list online. After being told by Labour’s Valerie Vaz that the government had dropped the information online, before alerting the House, a furious Lindsay Hoyle lambasted the government for treating the Commons with disrespect. The only silver lining, according to