Lindsay Hoyle says there is no evidence of bullying by senior Tories during fracking vote
The Commons Speaker had asked senior parliamentary officials to examine claims that Tory MPs had been manhandled into voting with the Government
There is no evidence that bullying took place during a controversial Commons vote on fracking, an initial investigation into the incident has found.
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.
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.”
The Speaker told MPs that parliamentary authorities had interviewed “over 40 Members and officials who were there”, and added that the report of their investigation will be published shortly.