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Tory MP called ‘extremely alert’ a day after falling asleep in the Commons

Sir Desmond Swayne was greeted with cheers and jokes as he asked Theresa May a question.

A Tory MP who appeared to fall asleep in the Commons has been greeted with cheers as he asked a question at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Sir Desmond Swayne and Speaker John Bercow both joked about the incident the day after it caused a storm on social media.

Brexiteer Sir Desmond appeared to doze off during a speech by Europhile former chancellor Ken Clarke about the EU charter of fundamental rights.

The New Forest MP was welcomed by cheers from all sides in the House as he rose to ask a question during Wednesday’s session, to the point where Mr Bercow had to appeal for calm.

“He is extremely alert. And I’m alert to what he’s going to say,” added the Speaker.

Former minister Sir Desmond told MPs: “A question keeps me awake at night.

“How will companies be encouraged to follow her lead in the way that Iceland has done?”

Iceland this week became the first major retailer to commit to eliminate plastic packaging for all its own-brand products.

Theresa May said she was pleased at the commitment and the Government would be encouraging other companies to follow their lead.

Mr Clarke, speaking as MPs debated the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, made light of the incident.

He said: “I’m glad to see (Sir Desmond) in his place behind me, I always welcome him.

“When I arrived I inquired whether he’d had a cup of coffee before today’s long proceedings.”

Mr Clarke added he was trying to have “no soporific effects” on those MPs who had “survived” the lengthy discussions on the Bill.

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