Will the Speaker survive?

in #uk3 months ago (edited)

So - we had shenanigans in Parliament last Wednesday.

The SNP had an "Opposition Day". What does that mean? Well, the elected government controls the parliamentary schedule, in order to get it's legislation through. But in the interests of fairness, the opposition has Opposition Days where they can set the agenda. The main opposition (currently Labour) gets 27 opposition days in a parliamentary year. And the third party (the SNP) has three opposition days in a parliamentary year.

The SNP chose to use their opposition day to express disquiet about what is going on in Gaza, calling for a ceasefire.

This posed a problem for Sir Keir Starmer, who bizarely has decided to mirror the Biden administration in favour of continued killing. This is more hardline than the Tory govt which has called for a ceasefire and a two-state solution.

So the SNP motion was likely to provoke a rebellion by Labour MPs voting for it.

So Starmer arm-twisted the Speaker to silence the SNP. The learned Clerk of the Common protested - in writing - that this was against the rules. But the Speaker, who is an ex-Labour man, dismissed the rules as "archaic".

It was only afterwards, when it blew up in his face, that he claimed he'd acted that way due to "threats to Labour MPs lives". But if that was the case, surely he'd have consulted Stephen Flynn, the head of the SNP, and Penny Mordaunt, the Tory leader of the house. But he didn't.

Labour, eager to embelish the "threat" narrative, put out a series of tweets. Paul Sweeney of Scottish Labour put out a late-night tweet that his constituency offices had been "stormed" by pro-Palestine demonstrators. Police Scotland issued a rebuttal the next day saying no such thing happened.

It's clear to everyone that the Speaker abandoned impartiality rules to help his former party.

The SNP have declared they have no confidence in the Speaker. A number of Tories agree. Signatories to the early day motion to that effect now number 72, and may grow.

What happened was a travesty, not just to the rights of small parties, but to the rights of Scots in the union. Because why stay in a union where your voice is silenced in Parliament through chicanery?

The Tories are aware of this, hence their robust support of SNP rights in the Commons.

Starmer doesn't give a toss though.


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