Commons Speaker’s position appears untenable after Gaza vote chaos – Yousaf

The position of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle appears untenable, Humza Yousaf said as the fallout from the chaotic Gaza ceasefire vote continues.

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has called for a no confidence vote in the Speaker and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has also said trust in Sir Lindsay has been “eroded” after the events of Wednesday evening.

The SNP remains furious at Sir Lindsay following his decisions on its opposition day debate, where its motion called for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Amendments from both the UK Government and Labour were called, meaning there was not a final vote on the unamended SNP motion.

The SNP believes Sir Lindsay broke with precedent and bowed to pressure from Labour, sparing Sir Keir Starmer from a vote which would have exposed divisions in his party.

Humza Yousaf speech
Humza Yousaf, left, and Stephen Flynn said the Speaker’s position seems untenable (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Addressing the Speaker in the Commons chamber on Thursday, he said: “My colleagues and I were denied the ability to vote on a matter which is of grave concern to us and which over recent months we have sought to raise in this chamber at every available opportunity.

“It ultimately turned into a Labour opposition day. That quite frankly is not acceptable.

“As I have expressed to you privately prior to proceedings here today, we do not on these benches therefore believe that you can continue in your role as Speaker.”

In a bid to calm tensions, Sir Lindsay offered the SNP the chance of an emergency debate after it was unable to vote on its proposition amid Wednesday’s turmoil.

He issued a further apology to MPs, emphasising concerns over the security of MPs who have faced threats over their stance on the Gaza conflict.

“I regret it. I apologise to the SNP… I apologise, and I apologise to the House. I made a mistake. We do make mistakes. I own up to mine.”

At Holyrood, First Minister Humza Yousaf took a similar approach to his Westminster leader.

He told journalists: “(Sir Lindsay’s) position looks to me to be untenable.

“What we saw was frankly disgraceful, chaotic scenes in the House of Commons.

“I think the true tragedy of that is that it takes away from what is the most important issue, and that is the fact that we have an absolute humanitarian catastrophe that has unfolded and is deepening in Gaza.”

Downing Street
Douglas Ross said trust in the Speaker has been eroded (Lucy North/PA)

He added: “I don’t think it’s unreasonable for an opposition party on opposition day to want to have their motion debated, discussed and voted on.

“We know the Speaker looks like he has bent the rules and he has serious questions to answer.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative leader Mr Ross said the Speaker has “an awful lot of work to do” to rebuild the confidence of MPs.

Speaking to journalists in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Ross added: “I am going to reflect on the discussions that the Speaker has with party leaders and with chief whips.

“But I don’t think anyone should understate the seriousness of the situation and the trust that has been eroded from someone who I like and respect and have worked well with, the Speaker of the House.”

The comments came as a debate on a ceasefire in Gaza took place at Holyrood.

Jackson Carlaw
Conservative Jackson Carlaw questioned calls for a ceasefire when Hamas will not abide by it (PA)

Bill Kidd, the SNP MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, said: “Today, please, let’s speak with one voice, a voice that echoes and amplifies the overwhelming view of the international community, of the world – that voice says enough is enough.

“The time for a comprehensive and credible peace process is now.”

But Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw – whose Eastwood constituency contains Scotland’s largest Jewish community – questioned how a ceasefire would operate if Hamas refused to abide by it.

“We cannot have a ceasefire where Israel ceases and Hamas fires,” Mr Carlaw said.

“It has to be a ceasefire that we can believe will happen.

“In those circumstances, if the hostages are released, if Hamas is no longer able to influence the outcome of events, and if there is a mutual ending to the attacks of both countries, I can then support a ceasefire and I hope that out of that we can see a much more likely and secure future for the region.”

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