Sun, 5 February 2023

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Furious row breaks out after MPs run out of time to debate candidate abuse

Furious row breaks out after MPs run out of time to debate candidate abuse
2 min read

A row has broken out between Labour and the Conservatives after MPs ran out of time to debate the abuse of candidates during the general election.

The Tories accused Labour of deliberately wasting time so that the issue could not be discussed in the Commons last night.

Instead, MPs spent nearly three hours debating Labour demands for the Government to make more time available for opposition day debates.

Afterwards, Tory MP Anna Soubry suggested that was a deliberate tactic to avoid discussion of the abuse of Conservative candidates by left-wing activists.

She asked Commons speaker John Bercow: "Would it be in order for this place to record that as a result of Labour’s filibustering tonight, this Chamber will not debate the appalling abuse that many women Conservative candidates endured during the general election from the hard left?

"Would it also be in order for this place to record that there are many Conservative Members who stood up for Labour women when they were abused by their hard-left leadership?"

A senior Conservative source said: "It was very disappointing that an issue of such importance to so many MPs, as well as the health of our democracy, wasn't discussed in parliament because of political game-playing."

But Labour hit back, insisting that it was the Government's fault for not ensuring there was enough time for the debate to take place.

A source told PoliticsHome: "We were more than willing to debate it, but it was their mismanagement of business that meant we didn't get to it. The idea that we don't care about people's safety in public life is a disgrace."

A Labour spokesman said: "These misleading claims from the Tories are unsurprising, coming off the back of their general election campaign full of negativity, nastiness, smears and untruths."

MPs did debate the abuse suffered by many of them at the hands of their political opponents in Westminster Hall last week.

Diane Abbott said she was called a "n****r" on a daily basis, while Jewish Tory MP Andrew Percy said he was called "Zionist scum" in his own constituency by people claiming to be Jeremy Corbyn supporters.

Theresa May has ordered the Committee on Standards in Public Life to look into whether existing measures to protect candidates are effective and enforceable.

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