Labour MP who said he saw bullying during fracking vote faces shouts of ‘shame’ and ‘apologise’ during PMQs

As the calls continued, Chris Bryant told the Commons: 'I’m not going to be bullied into silence by anybody'

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Labour former minister Chris Bryant faced calls to apologise from the Tory benches at PMQs after he previously said he saw bullying in Parliament during a key vote on fracking last month.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has said an initial investigation found no evidence that bullying took place.

The MP for Rhondda rose at Prime Minister’s Questions to ask a question but was met with shouts of “shame” and “apologise” from the Tory benches.

Mr Bryant said “I’m not going to be bullied into silence by anybody” and then asked: “The Prime Minister knows that Britain’s broke.

Chris Bryant
Chris Bryant

“What is it about the 12 years of Tory rule and five years of him as a minister that has made such a mess of Britain?”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the “single biggest cause” of the challenges the UK faces right now are Covid-19, the war in Ukraine and high energy prices, saying “these are the root cause of the challenges we are facing” and that they are “global in nature”.

It comes a day after an initial investigation into the claims found there to be no evidence that bullying took place during the controversial Commons vote on fracking.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle had asked senior parliamentary officials to examine claims that Conservative MPs had been manhandled into voting with the Government.

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

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak

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.

But Sir Lindsay said the “tense” atmosphere and crowding during the October 19 vote had contributed to confusion about what had happened.

Sharing the initial findings of the inquiry with MPs, he said: “The atmosphere was tense and Members were raising their voices to make themselves heard, but there is no evidence of any bullying or undue influence placed on other Members.

“The crowding made it hard to see what was really taking place. While some Members thought that physical contact was being used to force a Member into the lobby, the Member concerned has said very clearly that this did not happen.”

“Those who had the clearest views of the incident confirmed this.”

The Speaker also reminded MPs that taking photos within Parliament is forbidden, after images of MPs crowded within the voting lobbies were published on social media.

Sir Lindsay said: “Several Members took photos during the division, some of which were posted on social media.

“I would like to remind Members that taking photos during proceedings is prohibited.

“It is important that we treat each other with respect. I take allegations of bullying extremely seriously.

“I will take swift action wherever necessary to address any improper behaviour in the chamber or in the lobbies."