LINDSAY HOYLE has been elected the next Speaker of the House of Commons after John Bercow stepped down last week – and unearthed footage of the Deputy Speaker’s furious clash with a former SNP leader reveals how he might adapt to life in the chair.
Mr Hoyle clashed with former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond during a Brexit debate in February 2017. Mr Salmond accused the Deputy Speaker of cutting off SNP MP Joanna Cherry while she was speaking and the row escalated as Mr Hoyle shouted that Mr Salmond “should know better” and ordered him to “sit down”. Tempers were rising after seven hours of debate as the Brexit Bill that would trigger Article 50 reached committee stage in the Commons.
Opposition MPs complained about the lack of time to debate amendments and the SNP felt they had not been given enough time to speak.
Ms Cherry, MP for Edinburgh South West, used her speech to move devolution amendments, accusing the Government of “hubris and contempt” in its attitude to Scotland.
The Deputy Speaker tried to move on for the sake of time in order to hear Brexit minister Robin Walker.
Raising a point of order, Mr Salmond angrily said: “It is quite clear that the Honourable Lady had not resumed her seat, Sir.
“Being in the Chair accords you many privileges, but you cannot reinterpret the wishes of an Honourable Lady who is on her feet.”
Mr Hoyle retorted: “As the Chair, I have the right to make decisions on this House.
“What I say is, quite rightly I wanted to bring the Honourable Lady in, which I did.
“When the SNP whip comes and asks me to give a couple of minutes to ensure that you got another voice I did.
“I certainly don’t expect advantages to be taken of the Chair on the agreement that I make.”
Opposition MPs jeered and shouted and Ms Cherry walked out of the chamber.
Mr Salmond stood up a number of times and shouted at the Deputy Speaker, but his words were drowned out by the noise in the House.
Mr Hoyle dressed down the former SNP leader, saying: “Mr Salmond, it’s a very serious matter. It’s so serious that I wanted to hear what the minister has to say.
“Tempers are running quite high. We need to just calm it down. In fairness, I’ve been very generous in coming into the Chair.
“Can I just say, I want to hear – and you would expect to hear – what the minister has to say in response to the opening speeches, which I believe you would want answers to.”
He added: “I understand you may have used some unparliamentary language to me. I am sure that’s not the kind of person you are and I am sure that you didn’t.”
Mr Hoyle has recently been praised for thwarting a Remainer plot to undermine Boris Johnson in the general election.
An attempt by MPS to give 16 and 17-year-olds and EU nationals the right to vote in the December election was quashed by the Deputy Speaker.
Mr Hoyle rejected the amendments on extending the franchise to the disappointment of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Corbyn said: “All 16-year-olds should have the right to vote. It seems fundamental to our democracy.
“It’s young people’s future after all we will be debating in this election.”
Mr Hoyle, 62, has been a Labour MP since 1997 and Deputy Speaker since 2010.
Unlike his predecessor, he has never declared his views on Brexit, but he commands a huge majority in his Leave constituency of Chorley in Lancashire.