More than 30 MPs sign motion of no confidence in Commons speaker – as it happened

Labour amendment passes

The Labour amendment has been approved, and gone through without a division. And the main motion as amended (the Labour text – the SNP version was wiped out by the Labout amendment) also went through unopposed.

Key events

A summary of today’s developments

  • The Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, has apologised to MPs following a fractious and chaotic debate over Gaza ceasefire votes after choosing to allow the government’s and Labour’s amendments to be voted on. He said he is “very, very concerned about the security of all members” but regrets how it manifested. Hoyle added: “I wanted all to ensure they could express their views and all sides of the House could vote.”

  • Some 33 MPs signed a motion of no confidence in the Commons Speaker on Wednesday night.

  • MPs eventually approved a Labour Party call for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” without any votes following hours of debate which saw SNP MPs and Tory MPs walk out of the Commons.

  • The call was an amendment to a motion put forward by the SNP seeking an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

A roundup of Thursday’s newspapers starting with The Times.

Kiran Stacey

The speaker of the House of Commons issued an unprecedented apology after a fractious and occasionally chaotic parliamentary debate on Gaza.

MPs voted unanimously for a Labour motion calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza, but only after Lindsay Hoyle upended years of parliamentary precedent to allow the party to bring its motion to a vote.

Conservative and Scottish National party MPs reacted with fury to Hoyle’s decision, which the speaker said was designed to air a wide range of opinions but which also allowed the Labour leader to dodge the biggest rebellion of his leadership.

Some are now trying to unseat Hoyle while others are urging the Conservatives to ignore common practice and stand against him at the general election.

In the end Labour’s amendment passed unopposed after Tory and SNP MPs walked out of the chamber. Starmer afterwards accused them of “choosing political games over serious solutions”.

Helen McEachern, CEO of CARE International UK, said the charity is “dismayed by the political theatrics we are witnessing in the House of Commons”.

“Arguments over parliamentary procedure do nothing to assist the people of Gaza,” she said.

“As our staff and partners in Gaza have told me during a visit to the West Bank this week, with each passing day, death, disease, and hunger increase.”

She called on the foreign secretary Lord David Cameron to do “everything in his power to help stop the humanitarian catastrophe we are watching”.

From ITV’s Robert Peston.

A friend of Lindsay Hoyle, a senior MP, has warned him he has lost the confidence of MPs, and should “resign before being pushed.” This MP says Hoyle – fairly or not – is widely seen to have succumbed to Labour pressure in ditching convention on the Gaza vote. “This is more…

— Robert Peston (@Peston) February 21, 2024

A ceasefire in Gaza which leaves Hamas in power is “not going to last”, according to the UK’s foreign secretary Lord Cameron.

He told the BBC: “What we have said, the Prime Minister and I, is there are several things you need. You need the hostages to be released, you need Hamas leaders to leave Gaza, you need to take down the infrastructure of terrorism, you need the prospect of political reform for the Palestinians, you need new Palestinian government.

“That’s how you get the fighting to stop. Simply calling for a ceasefire doesn’t make it happen.

“Of course, if you had a ceasefire without those conditions, if Hamas are still there, if they are still firing rockets, if they have still got the ability to do another October 7, that is not going to last.

“Our way of doing it, pause, leading to sustainable ceasefire, without a return to fighting, that’s the best way.

“Just saying ‘let’s have a ceasefire now’ without any change in the behaviour of Hamas, it’s not going to last.”

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle apologising to MPs.

Commons speaker ‘regrets’ decision to allow Labour vote on Gaza ceasefire – video

33 MPs sign motion of no confidence in Commons Speaker

More than 30 MPs sign motion of no confidence in Commons Speaker

In protest over Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s handling of the Gaza ceasefire vote, 33 Tory and SNP MPs have tabled a motion of no confidence in his speakership.

The Early Day Motion was proposed by Tory MP William Wragg and Sir Graham Brady, the senior Tory MP in charge of the backbench 1922 Committee, is among the signatories.

Other signatories on the Tory benches include Lee Anderson, Brendan Clarke-Smith, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, and Sir James Duddridge.

On the SNP benches, the party’s home affairs spokesperson Alison Thewliss, senior MP Joanna Cherry and social justice spokesperson David Linden have signed.

Keir Starmer accuses the Tories and SNP of “choosing political games over serious solutions”.

The Labour leader said:

Today was a chance for parliament to unite and speak with one voice on the horrendous situation in Gaza and Israel.

It was in that spirit that Labour put forward an amendment calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. One that that will last, that would require both sides to observe it, that would demand hostages are returned, that aid gets into Gaza, that said Israel has a right to be protected against a repeat of 7 October and – crucially – that requires a road map for a two-state solution.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives and the SNP decided to walk out hand-in-hand, refusing to vote on this serious matter, yet again choosing political games over serious solutions.

Labour frontbencher John Healey says Sir Lindsay Hoyle was “doing the right thing”.

The shadow defence secretary told the PA news agency:

We’ve shown Westminster at its worst, a row about procedure with the Conservatives boycotting the votes, the SNP walking out.

This does nothing to help the Palestinians and nothing to advance the cause of peace.

The Speaker was trying to ensure the widest possible debate on something that matters to parliament, it matters to our communities, it matters around the world.

He was doing the right thing.

Addressing accusations that Labour had been playing political games with the issue, he said: “I have got no time for the SNP making those sorts of arguments when their sole purpose was to kick Labour.

“When they lost the arguments in the chamber, they walked out.”

The SNP’s Stephen Flynn claimed that a vote on his party’s Gaza ceasefire motion had been “blocked” by Labour and Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

Today should have been about a ceasefire in Gaza.

It’s why the SNP brought forward our motion.

Westminster blocked our chance at a straight vote due to the actions of the Speaker and Labour Party.

We will continue to speak up for those suffering as a result of this conflict.

— Stephen Flynn MP (@StephenFlynnSNP) February 21, 2024

SNP MP Pete Wishart says Sir Lindsay Hoyle should resign as Commons Speaker.

The MP for Perth and North Perthshire told the PA news agency:

I think it’s intolerable, and it’s really difficult to know how you could remain in the chair after what happened today.

I know he came down and took responsibility and said sorry, but quite frankly it’s not good enough.

Nearly all of my colleagues have signed the early day motion asking for him to go, and speaking to several Conservative colleagues this evening, I know that a great number of them have also signed that too.

Halima Begum, chief executive of the ActionAid UK charity, said: “We are extremely disappointed to see the utter paralysis in Parliament this evening.

“Democracy is a precious commodity and should be treated as such.

A great disservice has been done to the British people, who expected their political parties and elected representatives to conduct a meaningful debate concerning an issue on which depends the lives of over a hundred Israeli hostages, and hundreds of thousands of Gazans suffering one of the most acute humanitarian crises we have seen in recent times.

“MPs know that over two-thirds of their constituents want an end to the war, an increase in humanitarian aid, and the safe return of the hostages.

“It’s time they put people’s lives above politics.”

Kiran Stacey

On Wednesday lunchtime Keir Starmer was facing the biggest crisis of his career.

Earlier in the week, he had been warned that as many as 100 of his MPs – including at least two of his shadow cabinet – were willing to rebel by voting for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza unless Labour brought forward its own amendment calling for one.

Having agreed to publish exactly such an amendment, the Labour leader now faced another hurdle: the Commons speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, was being advised not to pick it and instead call a different one from the government.

Hours away from the biggest rebellion of his leadership, Starmer decided to intervene personally and visited Hoyle in his office behind the House of Commons chamber.


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