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Speaker Hoyle retracts offer to SNP for emergency ceasefire debate

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has rejected an application from the SNP for an emergency debate over a ceasefire in Gaza – despite proposing the debate himself.

Last week saw the Commons descend into chaos when Sir Lindsay breached convention and allowed a Labour amendment to dominate an SNP opposition day, discussing the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The Speaker apologised for the incident and said he would grant the SNP a so-called SO24 debate to give them a chance to highlight their position.

But SNP leader Stephen Flynn revealed on Monday that their application had been thrown out, much to their anger.

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Sir Lindsay said the government planned to “make a relevant statement” around the situation in Gaza on Tuesday, so there would be a “very relevant opportunity for this matter to come before the House”.

But Mr Flynn accused Westminster of “failing the people of Gaza by blocking a vote on the urgent actions the UK government must take to help make an immediate ceasefire happen”.

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He added: “The Speaker broke the rules last week – and this week he has broken his word.

“How can MPs have any trust in the Speaker when he makes a public commitment one minute, only to rip it up the next?

“If 30,000 dead Palestinians aren’t worthy of an emergency debate, what is?”

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What rattled Westminster and its MPs? And how did the Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, find himself at the centre of the furore?

It comes after the SNP leader said last week it was “intolerable” for Sir Lindsay to stay in post following the fallout from the opposition day debate.

A total of 79 SNP and Conservative MPs have now signed a petition of no confidence in the Speaker.

However, Sir Lindsay has received the backing of a number of senior government figures and the Labour Party.

Last week, some of the attention fell onto Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer too, with reports claiming he had put pressure on Sir Lindsay – a Labour MP before taking on the Speaker role – to select his party’s amendment in order to stave off a rebellion from his own MPs, threatening to vote with the SNP.

Sir Keir “categorically” denied the claims – as did Sir Lindsay, who insisted the safety of MPs was the main reason for his move, and apologised to the Commons twice.

Asked on Monday if he regretted the way things had panned out, the Labour leader said: “My focus is on the awful situation in Gaza. Not the parliamentary process, the awful situation.

“And we all want to see an end to the thousands of people being killed in Gaza. We want to see those hostages out, and we want a pathway to a peaceful settlement.

“And that’s why it was very important last week that Parliament did pass the motion that calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and a route out that allows hostages to come out, aid to get in, and the only way through this which is a political solution to a two-state solution.”

Asked if he would work with his political rivals to come up with words the whole House could support, Sir Keir said: “I think this is a matter for the SNP.”

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The Speaker launched an impassioned defence of his decision that led to chaos in the Commons

But it does not seem the SNP would be keen to work with the Labour leader either after today calling for “a full, independent investigation” into Sir Keir’s alleged attempts to “wreck” the ceasefire vote last week.

The party pointed to an interview with Labour shadow minister Sir Chris Bryant on Channel 4 News, where he admitted to filibustering ahead of the opposition day debate so Sir Keir and the Speaker could talk, as well as claims in the Sunday Times about the Labour leader’s actions on the day.

SNP MP Kirsty Blackman said: “Starmer’s party has been caught red-handed following the admission by Chris Bryant.

“There must now be a full, independent investigation into the appalling behaviour of Keir Starmer and his colleagues, who are no better than the Tories when it comes to manipulating the broken Westminster system.”

Sky News Source