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Speaker accused of ‘political decision’ to select Labour amendment on Gaza vote

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, is facing a backlash from Tory MPs over his decision to select both the Labour and government amendments to the SNP’s Gaza ceasefire motion.

It is highly unusual to allow an opposition party – in this case Labour – to amend a motion from another opposition party. Usually, only a government amendment would be selected.

Advice from the clerk of the House said the decision to select both “represents a departure from the long-established convention for dealing with such amendments on opposition days”.

But the letter said Sir Lindsay ultimately has discretion over what amendments to select.

Politics Live:
Reaction to Speaker’s choice and vote updates

Tory MPs have accused him of making an “overtly political decision”, given that Sir Keir Starmer was expected to face a significant rebellion had his amendment not been selected.

This might have led to Labour MPs backing the SNP’s motion calling for a ceasefire against Labour’s orders – though Labour had not said how it would whip its MPs.

Sir Lindsay has explained that he wanted MPs to have the “widest possible range” of options in the Gaza ceasefire debate because of its importance.

However, one Tory MP told Sky News: “Nobody wants a return to the Bercow days. The Speaker has done lots to rebuild trust over the past years.

“Today’s overtly political decision from the Speaker will cause a loss of confidence from Conservative MPs.

“The question now is can he retain the confidence of the House and continue?”

The mention of Bercow harks back to the speakership of John Bercow.

He was Speaker during the Brexit years and came in for criticism for making what were perceived as political interventions to allow MPs to delay or scrutinise proposed Brexit deals.

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