Speaker orders MP from Commons over lying claim


Mr Flynn accused government ministers of lying over the war in Afghanistan

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.

David Cornock Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

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  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Sorry to interrupt you girls but may I get a word in edgeways? Right, even though I don't agree with Paul Flynns Political leanings I do admire him for his guts in protesting of the alleged untruths told by this Governing troop of Asses ( Donkeys to the layman) and his removal from the so-called mother of all parliaments ( yeah right!) which is childish, against freedom of speech & Democracy!

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    ... missed your line Boxer.

    I think politics has become a creature of the night, hiding behind inactivity, behind silence, no-longer a place of debate, reasoned or otherwise, a place of the sound-bite ...

    ... where is that freedom of information ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    'there remains the allegation that ...

    "... our soldiers have been let down

    Quite, my point was that Mr Flynn - by his own intransigence - deprived himself of his ability to justify his comment. That is why he should have respected the Speaker's ruling.
    Whether he could have produced any credible evidence is something else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    ... Boxer, there remains the allegation that ...

    "... our soldiers have been let down".

    As it stands, neither Flynn nor the government, nor the opposition, will expand the allegation into something of nothing or something of substance.

    Remember the two RAF pilots blamed for the Chinook helicopter crash in 1994, perseverance cleared their names, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1801947.stm


  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I think the old boy lost the plot, because that wasn't all he said, he was muttering darkly about an 'illegal' war, in which case he had his wars mixed up. Perhaps he should have got himself expelled more often over the Iraq war, that would have made more sense. But that was a Labour government war wasn't it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    John, it was for Mr Flynn to withdraw his remark and concentrate on the serious issues over soldiers in hazard.
    We have all (or nearly all) noted on this site that when the rules concerning civilised debate are persistently ignored, then the quality of the discussion is harmed.
    Of course you or I (or Mr Flynn) may disagree with the rules, but you have to respect the referee.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    I'm no fan of Mr Flynn, I can say the same of Speaker Bercow, but as a fan of democracy Mr Flynn has my vote.

    By expelling Mr Flynn, Speaker Bercow has allowed Philip Hammond the Defence Secretary to avoid answering the allegation that ...

    "... our soldiers have been let down".

    ... certainly democracy would expect a rebuttal from both the coalition and previous government, Flynn's own.



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