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Copyright: PA Wire
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World News

'I've never seen scenes quite like it': Christian MP shares experience of House of Commons ceasefire debacle

by Lydia Davies

Calls for a ceasefire in Gaza continue to cause division as Parliament descended into chaos on Wednesday evening.


MPs staged a walkout in protest against Speaker Lindsay Hoyle's handling of the Gaza ceasefire debate. The heated atmosphere culminated in dozens signing a vote of no confidence against Hoyle.


The uproar stemmed from Hoyle's decision to permit amendments from both the government and Labour on the SNP's motion calling for an "immediate ceasefire" in the Israel-Hamas conflict, which has resulted in significant loss of life in Gaza.


This departure from the convention, where only the government's amendment should have been considered, sparked outrage across party lines.


Christian Conservative MP Sir Gary Street, who was in the chamber at the time, told Premier that "things certainly felt out of control".


"In 32 years,  I have never seen scenes quite like it," he said. "It was chaotic. Normally, if the House of Commons is in uproar, at least the person in the chair tries to bring order. Yesterday, the person in the chair was the problem, and things certainly felt out of control."


He said that the walkout "wasn't about changing government policy," but he was concerned with the way the events made Parliament look. He believes "even if we did [call for an immediate ceasefire], it wouldn't make a scrap of difference".


The uproar prompted Hoyle to apologise for the mayhem, though his efforts to calm the fury were met with calls for resignation from MPs on both sides of the aisle.


"He did the right thing in apologising. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt, and we will see how the next week or so unfolds," Sir Gary Streeter continued. "There will be those possibly who will be concerned about the poor judgement that was exercised yesterday, but don't we all make mistakes? I certainly have made millions. "


For Jennifer Larbie, Head of UK Advocacy at Christian Aid, it was 'shocking' to see what went down in Parliament and can't see a reason not to go ahead with a ceasefire.


"Why is a ceasefire even a debatable concept?...I find it hard to reconcile the fact that asking for peace has become such a politically controversial concept," she told Premier.


Although Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has apologised, there are now more than 60 MPs who want him to stand down.


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