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The six strangest moments from Parliament’s prorogation protest

10 September 2019

11:25 AM

10 September 2019

11:25 AM

Early this morning at around 2am, the Commons witnessed some of the most extraordinary behaviour seen in the Chamber in living memory, as MPs attempted to protest the prorogation of parliament.

Below are the strangest moments from the morning:


Labour MPs attempted to stop the Speaker John Bercow from leaving his seat as he was called to the Lords to carry out the formal procedure for proroguing parliament. The left-wing MP for Brighton Kemptown and famed mace swinger Lloyd Russell-Moyle briefly lay across Bercow’s lap before being pulled off by a member of Commons staff.


Bercow made one of his signature verbose pronouncements, declaring the government’s prorogation ‘an act of executive fiat’ – never mind the centuries-old convention of an impartial Speaker.


This was followed by MPs jeering at Black Rod as she attempted to address the Speaker and execute her constitutional duty to announce the ending of the parliamentary session. Meanwhile, the shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler led a band of Labour MPs waving signs bearing the phrase ‘silenced’.

Stephen Morgan, the Labour MP for Portsmouth South also shared a dramatic photo of the parliamentary protesters:


MPs decided to engage in a late-night singsong (that’ll show Boris Johnson). The Welsh are known for their tradition of voice choirs and Plaid Cymru undoubtedly won the informal showdown with their performance of ‘Calon Lân’.


The SNP decided to treat the Chamber to a less-than-rousing performance of the ‘Scots Wha Hae’, a traditional Scottish anthem that ends with the rousing phrase ‘Let us do or die!’ A sentiment clearly shared by the current Prime Minister.


While Labour gave a slightly half-hearted rendition of ‘The Red Flag’, a performance that lacked the harmonies of both the SNP and Plaid Cymru – surely not a reflection on the party’s current political unity…

Labour backbencher Clive Lewis later tweeted that their attempt to stop Bercow from leaving the Speaker’s chair harkened back to 1629.

During the reign of Charles I, parliamentarians attempted to stop the King from raising taxes. In response, the Stuart monarch decided to dissolve parliament and refused to recall MPs during what became known as the ‘eleven years of tyranny’ – not quite the same as a five-week break for conference. It seems Charles I isn’t the only person to lose their head over prorogation…

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