Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Objection to plan to cancel PMQs

George Galloway said the public had been subjected to a 'tidal wave of guff'
Respect MP George Galloway objected to Government plans to cancel Prime Minister's Questions so that senior ministers can attend Baroness Thatcher's funeral
Labour MP Dennis Skinner objects to plans to cancel Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday

Left-wing MPs George Galloway and Dennis Skinner have set up a showdown with the Government over its plans to cancel Prime Minister's Questions so that senior ministers could attend Baroness Thatcher's funeral.

The Respect MP was joined by Labour MP Mr Skinner as they objected to a Commons motion which would have cancelled PMQs and Scottish Questions and delayed the start of business until 2.30pm on Wednesday.

The Government had hoped the motion would be nodded through unopposed, but the objection in the Commons tonight will mean a debate of up to three hours tomorrow when the MP for Bradford West said he would try to persuade other MPs to oppose the plans to cancel PMQs.

Having stayed away from Westminster when Parliament was recalled last week after apparently being told disrespectful speeches against Lady Thatcher would not be tolerated, Mr Galloway said he would use Tuesday as an opportunity to have his say on the 87-year-old's legacy.

Ministers had hoped the Government's motion, tabled by Commons Leader Andrew Lansley to scrap PMQs, Scottish questions and delay the start of business to 2.30pm when the funeral has taken place, would be nodded through unopposed.

But Mr Galloway took advantage of Commons rules which meant that if one MP shouted "object" the motion would either have to be withdrawn or a three hour debate scheduled, as has been confirmed will happen, so that the motion can be debated and voted on.

Mr Galloway said that he had planned to speak when Parliament was recalled last week but was told that disrespectful speeches would not be tolerated. Speaking outside the Commons earlier, Mr Galloway said Baroness Thatcher was a wicked and divisive woman who was hated by half the country.

The MP said: "I want to speak up for those millions of people who think enough is enough. We have been treated to a tidal wave of guff for the last seven days and we have got at least two more to go.

"This was a wicked and divisive woman who was hated by half of the country and did great damage to a society she said didn't exist.

"People think the canonisation of Lady Thatcher has gone on long enough. The muffling of the chimes of Big Ben is a step too far and now Mr Cameron will miss Prime Minister's Questions for four weeks. It is unconscionable."

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