Commons speaker launches investigation into claims Tories bullied MPs during vote

Opposition politicians claimed one Conservative MP was 'physically manhandled' into the 'No' lobby to ensure he opposed the motion

Published

Allegations of ministers bullying Conservative MPs during a House of Commons vote are under investigation by the parliamentary authorities.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has asked the Serjeant at Arms, who is responsible for keeping order within the Commons, and other senior officials to examine the claims.

Health Secretary Therese Coffey and Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg are among the group of senior Tories accused of bullying the party’s MPs into voting against Labour’s motion on fracking.

Opposition politicians claimed one Conservative MP was “physically manhandled” into the “No” lobby to ensure he opposed the motion, which had sought to pave the way to ban fracking.

Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing announcing the result of a vote for Labour's motion to allocate Commons time to consider banning fracking
Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing announcing the result of a vote for Labour's motion to allocate Commons time to consider banning fracking
Sir Lindsay Hoyle
Sir Lindsay Hoyle

Mr Rees-Mogg insisted he had seen no evidence of anyone being manhandled and there had simply been a “normal” discussion among MPs as they prepared to vote, while Ms Coffey also denied the claim.

Sir Lindsay, opening proceedings in the chamber on Thursday, told MPs: “I wish to say something about the reports of behaviour in the division lobbies last night.

“I have asked the Serjeant at Arms and other senior officials to investigate the incident and report back to me. I will then update the House.

“I remind Members that the behaviour code applies to them as well as to other members of our parliamentary community, and this gives me another opportunity to talk about the kind of House I want to see and I believe that the vast majority of MPs also want to see.

“I want this to be a House in which we, while we might have very strong political disagreements, treat each other courteously and with respect, and we should show the same courtesy and respect to those who work with and for us.

“To that end I will be meeting with senior party representatives to seek an agreed position that behaviour like that described last night is not acceptable in all circumstances.”