Speaker loses it at Tory minister: ‘Who do you think you’re talking to?’
The Speaker didn’t hide his anger with the business secretary today, furiously asking her in the House of Commons: ‘Who do you think you’re speaking to?’
Sir Lindsay Hoyle has often made a point of insisting ministers tell MPs about major announcements before the media.
But Kemi Badenoch chose to announce the Government’s U-turn on EU laws in the Telegraph, prompting a scolding from the Speaker.
The only direct communication MPs recieved was a written statement about it, and they were never addressed orally in Parliament.
Sir Lindsay granted an urgent question on the changes, and said: ‘I will remind Government, we are elected to hear it first, not to read it in the Telegraph and certainly not a WMS (written ministerial statement) is satisfactory on such an important matter.’
Ms Badenoch replied: ‘I’m very sorry that the sequencing that we chose was not to your satisfaction.’
But Sir Lindsay cut her off, shouted ‘order’ and added: ‘That is totally not acceptable.’
Following an off-microphone remark from Ms Badenoch in which she appeared to say ‘not the right procedure’, Sir Lindsay boomed: ‘Who do you think you’re speaking to, Secretary of State? I think we need to understand each other.
‘I am the defender of this House and these benches on both sides, I am not going to be spoken to by a Secretary of State who is absolutely not accepting my ruling.
‘Take it with good grace and accept it, that members should hear it first, not a WMS or what you decide.
‘These members have been elected by their constituents and they have the right to hear it first and it is time this Government recognised we’re all elected, we’re all Members of Parliament and used the correct manners.’
Ms Badenoch responded: ‘I apologise, what I was trying to say was that I’m very sorry that I did not meet the standards which you expect of secretaries of state, forgive my language.’
Other MPs said Ms Badenoch had shown a ‘tin ear’ approach and called her ‘arrogant and patronising’ after she blamed ‘silly MPs’ on both sides of the House for not understanding some legislation.
In the written statement to MPs, Ms Badenoch revealed the Government would be scaling back a promised ‘bonfire’ of EU laws, and explained the move in an article for the Telegraph.
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