UK Politics

Was this the weirdest week in Westminster?

Theresa May and ministers Image copyright UK Parliament
Image caption Some found the week's activities funnier than others

Here in Westminster, things haven't been "business as usual" for quite some time.

But this week outdid itself, with every day delivering an odd surprise - and the funny reactions to match.

These are just some of the weird and wonderful things to have taken place in SW1A over the past five days.

Monday: Bumday

We all know what it is like - that slow start to the week, the afternoon lull...

Then boom! Twelve naked people crash into your office and demand action on climate change.

No? Maybe it is just MPs then...

On Monday, activists took over the public gallery in the Commons during a debate on indicative Brexit votes, with slogans painted across their bodies.

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Media captionSemi-naked climate change protester on interrupting Brexit debate.

MPs courageously carried on, with the odd reference ad-libbed into their speeches and a hair-raising facial expression or two, as some of the protesters managed to glue themselves to the security glass.

It took the police a fair while to unstick the group and carry them off the premises, but the imprints of their backsides remained for some time - both on the glass and in our memories.

Tuesday: Crack out the Chilean wine

Every week, Theresa May summons her cabinet to No 10 for a chat (row) about the latest direction of the government.

These occasions tend to last for about two hours before the top brass can head back to their departments and maybe get on with some non-Brexit related work - Steve Barclay is exempt from this, of course.

But on Tuesday, after ministers arrived at Downing Street, the doors were locked and they were stuck in talks for more than seven hours.

Think what you could do with seven hours:

  • Watch nearly five football matches
  • Smash through the whole series of Bodyguard
  • Get a healthy amount of sleep

But no, these ladies and gentlemen had to come up with an answer to the Brexit deadlock.

To stop them telling gossip-hungry journalists what had been decided before she did, Mrs May is said to have shut them up in the cabinet room, confiscated their phones and fed them "cheap Chilean red wine".

Wednesday: Message from the gods?

As Mrs May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn entered into their talks on Wednesday afternoon, it seemed the weather gods were siding with the angry Brexiteers.

A previously fine day was shaken by a huge clap of thunder and hailstones crashing on to the pavements, despite spring being well and truly sprung.

But the dramatic scenes in the Commons were still to come.

For the first time in 39 years, a vote by MPs was tied.

It was on an amendment calling for backbenchers to take over business in the House for a fourth day, and the lead-up to the 310-310 result produced a lot of angry exchanges.

So how was the impasse solved?

Mr Order himself, Speaker John Bercow, got to have the casting vote and he went against the amendment.

Cue lots of oohs and aahs from a Commons beside itself with procedure.

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Media captionSpeaker casts deciding vote after dead heat

And the day was rounded off by an odd point of order from Tory backbencher Mark Francois after MPs approved a bill - in just one day - forcing the PM to ask the EU for an extension to Brexit.

The staunch Leaver chose the run-up to Holy Week to exclaim: "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do."

The Lord does work in mysterious ways...

Thursday: Here comes the flood

The biblical theme continued into Thursday.

As MPs debated the introduction of a loan charge, water began to pour into the press gallery above, with journalists sprinting out to avoid damp shoes.

While the hacks were tweeting puns about "leaks in Westminster", politicians tried to continue and be heard over the sound of running water.

But despite it being a somewhat busy week in Parliament, Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle was forced to suspend the House, eventually adjourning - meaning they all got an early bath.

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Media captionHouse of Commons suspends sitting due to water leak

Meanwhile, the Lords were embarking on an epic debate that saw so many votes, peers were up and down from the benches as if they had repeatedly sat on a hedgehog.

It was a battle of Brexit, as one side tried to get Thursday's one-day bill through its peer review and the other tried to stop it.

The players were "dusting off camp beds" and checking times for breakfast (07:30 BST if you were wondering), promising to debate through the night.

But after almost 12 hours, they called it a day and went for a nightcap.

Friday: You think it's all over...

So far, so normal.

But there are still a few hours to go.

Maybe it will be locusts next...

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