Labour's Lloyd Russell-Moyle explains why he seized Commons mace in 'spur-of-the-moment' Brexit protest

Posted On: 
10th December 2018

Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle tells PoliticsHome why he grabbed the ceremonial mace tonight after a day of high drama in the House of Commons - a move that has seen him banished from the Chamber with a day's pay docked

The Brighton and Kempton MP was barred from the Commons chamber.

"It was a spur-of-the moment decision. I probably decided a minute or two beforehand.

"It was at that moment where I heard the Government say 'tomorrow' [to defer the Brexit debate] - which means never - and everyone shouted 'no', literally hundreds of people in that room were shouting 'no' and one government whip was overruling hundreds of parliamentarians. And it just amazed me. 

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

"Democracy is fundamentally about voting and regularly demonstrating your will. Trying to push this back down to the very last moment means we might never get a meaningful vote. I felt frustrated. And I just felt it was so undemocratic.

"It might well be within the rules - but clearly it was not the will of the House, not the will of the country, not the will of Parliamentarians. And I felt I had to just lodge my protest.

"So I lifted the mace. I originally intended to just put it on the floor or something. I was worried that might damage it so I then turned around, walked out with it and handed it over to the security - the men and women in tights. 

"And they then escorted to me out of the building. I'm not allowed to go back until tomorrow. I have a day's pay docked. But if helps highlight what the government has done even further, a day's pay is worth it...

"Thankfully I'm not in the Tower of London. But if I were I'd expect Theresa May to be in the cell next to me. The reality is, what they have done for this country is morally criminal. Not legally. But morally criminal. And so they can protest all they like. The people, I hope, will see through it."