The speaker of the Commons apologizes for the chaos that ensued during the Gaza ceasefire debate.

The speaker of the Commons apologizes for the chaos that ensued during the Gaza ceasefire debate.

The Head of the House of Commons issued a never-before-seen apology following a contentious and at times disorderly parliamentary discussion 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.

MPs from the Conservative and Scottish National parties were angered by Hoyle’s decision. The speaker stated that the decision was made to allow for a diverse range of opinions, but it also gave the Labour leader a chance to avoid facing a major revolt during his leadership.

There are those attempting to overthrow Hoyle, while others are advocating for the Conservatives to deviate from tradition and oppose him in the upcoming election.

The Labour amendment was ultimately approved without opposition as Conservative and SNP members left the chamber. Afterwards, Starmer criticized them for prioritizing political tactics over genuine resolutions.

SNP and Conservative MPs walk out of the Commons in protest at Lindsay Hoyle’s handling of a Gaza ceasefire debate.View image in fullscreen

At the conclusion of a six-hour discussion in Parliament, Hoyle expressed remorse to Members of Parliament. The debate was characterized by cunning tactics, frequent yelling across the House of Commons, and allegations of bias on the speaker’s behalf.

During a surprise announcement, the speaker addressed a full audience and stated, “It is evident that today did not showcase the house in its finest light. I will certainly contemplate my role in that.”

He stated: “I made an effort to make a decision that I believed was best for all parties involved in this House. It is unfortunate, and I am sorry, that the outcome did not align with my intentions.”

The apology was issued after a tumultuous day in Westminster, where Starmer personally appealed to the Commons speaker to allow his motion to be voted on.

Members of the Labour Party in Parliament had cautioned Starmer that as many as 100 of them were prepared to defy party instructions and support a Scottish National Party proposal for an instant ceasefire, unless Labour presented its own comparable substitute. Sources have disclosed that at least two members of the shadow cabinet were prepared to step down due to this matter.

On Tuesday, Labour stated its intention to propose an amendment for an “urgent humanitarian ceasefire”. This would only be possible if certain conditions were met, including the cessation of Hamas’ violent actions against Israel.

The phrasing of the Labour revision convinced many MPs to support it over the SNP proposal. Labour has objected to the SNP motion because it lacks clarity on the requirements for a ceasefire.

Labour Members of Parliament cautioned that if they were not given the opportunity to cast their vote in favor of their own amendment, they would instead support the Scottish National Party’s motion. This would have been the most significant direct test of Starmer’s leadership since he assumed the role.

Before the vote, Hoyle had yet to make a decision on whether to include the proposed government amendment, the Labour amendment, or both in the motion. After Starmer intervened at the last minute, the speaker ultimately chose to include both amendments, causing anger among the Conservative and SNP members.

Hoyle later stated that he was convinced to permit both modifications due to the potential danger posed to several Members of Parliament.

Bypass the newsletter advertisement.

Numerous members of the Labour party who chose not to vote on a comparable motion put forward by the SNP in November have reported experiencing mistreatment and receiving personal threats. With a large group of demonstrators assembled outside Westminster, Hoyle was convinced to provide them with a way to avoid the situation.

Despite receiving criticism, even from his own clerk Tom Goldsmith, he wrote a letter expressing his belief that the decision deviated from the well-established practice for handling such amendments.

On Wednesday evening, 33 Members of Parliament, primarily from the SNP, signed a motion presented by Conservative MP William Wragg that expressed a lack of confidence in the speaker.

Following a heated debate in the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt, the leader of the House, declared that the government would abstain from voting, allowing the Labour amendment to be approved without opposition.

Mordaunt strongly criticized Hoyle while announcing her decision, accusing him of taking over the discussion and causing a loss of trust in the House of Commons.

Afterwards, she forgave Hoyle’s apology and expressed, “As our speaker, we expect you to advocate for the rights of every member in this House.”

Stephen Flynn, the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in Westminster, expressed disappointment in the recent opposition day, which was dominated by the Labour party instead of the SNP. He feels that this treatment is disrespectful towards himself and his colleagues, and he will need convincing to believe that this situation is not unacceptable.

However, despite facing criticism from numerous MPs, Hoyle’s position is believed to be stable by Labour officials. They suggest that much of the government’s anger is exaggerated for dramatic effect. There are concerns that the ongoing dispute over a relatively unknown parliamentary procedure during a discussion about the conflict in Gaza could harm the reputation of the House of Commons in the eyes of voters.

A minister acknowledged, “Our anger may not be as genuine as we are portraying it to be.”