Speaker orders MP from Commons over lying claim

It is 25 years since Paul Flynn was first elected to the House of Commons. He will now have another five days to celebrate his silver jubilee after being ordered out of the chamber by the Speaker.

Mr Flynn upset John Bercow by accusing the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, of lying over the conflict in Afghanistan. The Newport West MP is a long-standing opponent of military action there but MPs are not allowed to accuse each other of lying to the Commons.

Mr Flynn intervened during a statement on NATO strategy in Afghanistan to say: "Isn't this very similar to the end of the First World War when it was said that politicians lied and soldiers died and the reality was, as it is now, that our brave soldier lions are being led by ministerial donkeys?"

The Speaker asked Mr Flynn to "make it clear he's not suggesting any Minister is lying to the House of Commons. It would be helpful if he would make that clear."

Mr Flynn: "That's precisely what I'm saying, I believe we have had lies from the minister and I believe that our soldiers have been let down."

Mr Bercow tried again to persuade Mr Flynn to withdraw the accusation - without success. He then accused the MP of behaving "in a grossly disorderly manner" and "named" Mr Flynn, the procedure that leads to MPs being ordered out of the chamber.

The Speaker ordered Mr Flynn to withdraw for the remainder of today's sitting, but the Speaker's office later said the Newport West MP would be suspended from the chamber for five sitting days without pay.

As MPs are about to disappear for a conference recess, he'll serve his suspension when they return in the middle of next month.

Explusions from the chamber happen occasionally; they can be a neat publicity-seeking device on an issue where media attention is starting to flag.

What was perhaps unusual about Mr Flynn's red card was that he says it wasn't pre-meditated, his anger simply boiled over. Indeed, the parliamentary authorities initially appeared unclear about what to do and how long his suspension would last.

Mr Hammond said the MP's comments were "scandalous". Mr Flynn says he has no regrets. As MPs are about to go into recess during the party conferences, he'll serve his suspension when they return in the middle of next month.