Chris Bryant recalls seeing MPs ‘being bullied’
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The Deputy Speaker of the House Eleanor Laing erupt in a furious swipe at MPs around the chair following a statement by Labour’s Chris Bryant stating Tories had been “bullied’ during Wednesday’s tense vote on fracking.
Mr Bryant told the Deputy Speaker: “I would urge you to launch an investigation into the scenes outside the entrance to the no lobby earlier.
“As you know members are expected to be able to vote without fear or favour and the behaviour code which is agreed by the whole of the house says there shall never be bullying or harassment.
“I saw members being physically manhandled into another lobby and being bullied.
“If we want to stand up against bullying in this house of our staff, we have to stop bullying in this chamber as well.”
“We’re talking about behaviour we will have a little bit of good behaviour for a moment,” responded Dame Laing.
She paused before bellowing out: “On both sides of the house!”
“The Honourable gentleman raises an important matter about behaviour and he knows better than anyone else that we have an extremely good system for investigating allegations of bullying, intimidation, of bad behaviour and if the honourable gentleman cares to bring evidence and facts to me, I will make sure that the matter is properly investigated.
“Of course, we must have decorous behaviour at all times.”
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Cabinet ministers Therese Coffey and Jacob Rees-Mogg are among a group of senior Tories accused of bullying Conservative MPs into voting against a Labour motion on fracking.
Amid extraordinary scenes at Westminster, one Tory MP was “physically manhandled” into the “no” lobby to ensure he opposed the motion, according to opposition MPs.
Mr Rees-Mogg, the Business Secretary, 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.
But senior Tory MP Sir Charles Walker said what took place was “inexcusable”.
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“It is a pitiful reflection on the Conservative Parliamentary Party at every level and it reflects really badly, obviously, on the Government of the day,” he told BBC News.
The chaos erupted shortly before the vote at 7pm, after climate minister Graham Stuart announced in the Commons chamber that, contrary to what MPs had been told earlier, it was not being treated as a vote of confidence in the Government of Liz Truss.
Until that point, Tory MPs had been on notice that they would have the whip withdrawn and would be expelled from the parliamentary party if they failed to support the Government.
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