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New Speaker pledges to end the ‘bear pit’ of the Commons chamber

Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he wants to encourage respect and tolerance for all in Parliament.

New Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
New Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

By Gavin Cordon

New Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has pledged to end the “bear pit” atmosphere of confrontation in the chamber.

The 62-year-old former deputy speaker was elected as the successor to John Bercow after finally securing more than half of the votes in the fourth round of voting by MPs on Monday.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said his priority would be to encourage tolerance and respect for all in the House.

He said the public could not believe some of the behaviour they witness by MPs and said it is up to Parliament to set “the right tone” for the country at large.

I want to try and change that bear pit anger that seems to have come out in recent years Sir Lindsay Hoyle

“What I want to do is make sure that we have respect in the House, we have tolerance in the House and everybody is valued in the House,” he said.

“This is a village that we have got to be proud of. This is a village that has got to stand up for itself.

“I want to bring in a better respect, better tolerance, and try and change that bear pit anger that seems to have come out in recent years, that seems to have got worse and worse.

“The public just cannot believe the behaviour. It is about setting the right tone. If Parliament gets it right, hopefully the country will follow.”

John Bercow was criticised over controversial rulings during the Brexit debates (House of Commons/PA)

Mr Bercow was heavily criticised by some Tory MPs during his time in the Speaker’s chair over a series of controversial rulings which were seen to favour the pro-Remain side in the Brexit debate.

Sir Lindsay said he wants to ensure that backbenchers are still able to hold ministers to account while enabling parliamentary business to be conducted in “the best possible way”.

“I think my style will be about trying to get business through the House in the best possible way but making sure that backbenchers are heard and they are going to hold the executive to account,” he said.

“That’s going to be my new role.”

At the same time, he stressed the importance of ensuring the safety of candidates in the General Election at a time of rising abuse aimed at MPs.

“We are going into a very difficult time with a General Election,” he said.

“It is not just about MPs, it is about all candidates, and making sure that the local police are supporting them as well.

“I do worry about the abuse and the level of threat. I will be doing a letter with the Home Secretary to advise people and to make sure people understand there is support there.”



From Belfast Telegraph