WATCH: Labour MP booted out of Commons after grabbing ceremonial mace in Brexit vote protest

Posted On: 
10th December 2018

A Labour MP has been banished from the House of Commons chamber after seizing the ceremonial mace in protest at Theresa May's decision to shelve a vote on her Brexit deal.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle is told to leave the Commons chamber.
Credit: 
Parliament

Speaker John Bercow ordered the Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle to leave the chamber after he picked up the mace - which sits on the table of the House and symbolises royal authority - and attempted to walk out.

The Brighton and Kemptown MP told PoliticsHome he had made a "spur-of-the-moment" decision to register his anger at the Government's moves to defy "the will of the House".

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But his protest was met with calls to "expel him" from the Conservative benches, while others shouted "shame" and "disgusting".

Reacting to the move, Mr Bercow said: "I'm sorry, but by the power given to me by standing order number 43, and I think the honourable gentleman will know the implication of his action, I must order honourable gentleman to withdraw immediately from the House for the remainder of this day's sitting."

He added: "Mr Russell-Moyle, please leave the chamber."

 

 

The MP initially refused to budge, prompting gasps from MPs as he remained in the Chamber. 

But he finally left after Mr Bercow said: "No, no he must leave or be escorted, he should leave."

Mr Russell-Moyle told PoliticsHome he had originally intended to place the mace back on the floor - but decided to walk towards the exit before handing it back to Commons security. 

"I've been getting worked up throughout the day because I think the way government has treated parliament is outrageous," he said.

"The symbolic protest of lifting the mace shows and demonstrates, of course, that the Queen's authority in Parliament no longer is there. 

"Parliament no longer has the authority to govern. And that's what I feel has happened: if we are not able to vote, what kind of democracy is this?"

It is the first time an MP has been ordered to leave the Chamber for grabbing the mace since John McDonnell - now Labour's Shadow Chancellor - made his objections to a third runway at Heathrow known. 

The mace - a five-foot silver gilt club - usually rests on the table of the Commons chamber when it is sitting and, without it, parliament cannot meet or pass laws.

Conservative grandee Lord Heseltine famously swung the mace above his head during a heated 1976 Commons moment. 

Mr Russell-Moyle's move capped a day of high drama in the House of Commons after Theresa May confirmed she will delay tomorrow's planned vote on her deal and attempt to agree changes with the European Union.

The MP said that while the Prime Minister's move may have been "within the rules", it was "not the will of Parliamentarians".

"Democracy is fundamentally about voting and regularly demonstrating your will," he said.

"Trying to push this back down to the very last moment means we might never get a meaningful vote. I felt frustrated."