Worthing MP challenges the Commons Speaker

A WORTHING MP challenged the speaker of the House of Commons after a Labour MP was allowed to call culture secretary Jeremy Hunt a liar.

Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for Worthing West, challenged Commons speaker John Bercow’s authority after MP Chris Bryant asserted the Culture Secretary had “lied to Parliament” – an allegation which would normally be ruled out of order.

Sir Peter tabled an Early Day Motion about the “unacceptable” language and called for MPs to direct the Speaker that it should not be allowed to happen again.

The motion included: “That this house dislikes the unacceptable language allowed during the first Opposition Day debate on June 13, 2012, and directs that the occupants of the chair should not regard its use then as being a binding precedent.”

The MP insisted his motion was not a direct criticism of Mr Bercow, but was a “courteous way” to make sure the accusation of lying could not be made again.

Sir Peter said: “The news coverage is predictable. The most famous words of a Speaker cover the requirement to do what members of Parliament require. My Early Day Motion stops short of criticising the Speaker. It does express the clear view that no occupant of the Speaker’s chair should again allow this unacceptable language.

“With respect for the position and role of the Speaker, this is the courteous way to make clear that the decision was not necessarily one to follow.”

Mr Bercow has previously clashed with other Conservative MPs, including Health Minister Simon Burns and chief whip Patrick McLoughlin, during his time in office.