Labour MP Chris Bryant makes grovelling apology to Speaker

Labour MP Chris Bryant makes grovelling apology to Speaker Lindsay Hoyle for ‘unacceptable’ conduct after witnesses claimed he mimed ‘f*** off’ at the Commons chair during PMQs

  • Chris Bryant apologised for ‘altercation’ with Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle
  • Extraordinary spat broke out between the pair at PMQs in the chamber last week
  • Mr Bryant said he was ‘unreservedly’ sorry for heckling and questioning the chair

Labour MP Chris Bryant today made a grovelling apology to the Commons Speaker for his ‘unacceptable’ conduct after claims he mimed ‘f*** off’ at him during PMQs.

Making a personal statement in the House, the former minister said he wished the ‘altercation’ last week had never happened.

Mr Bryant – who chairs the Standards Committee – said he was ‘unreservedly’ sorry that his ‘heckling interrupted proceedings’ and that he had ‘challenged the authority of the chair’.

Sir Lindsay responded by accepting the apology, saying it ‘draws a line’ under the episode.

One senior MP who saw the extraordinary spat last week said Mr Bryant was standing in an area that was not ‘Covid safe’.

Sir Lindsay apparently noticed the problem when the former minister started shouting at the PM, and gestured at him to sit down.

Making a personal statement in the House, Chris Bryant said he wished the ‘altercation’ last week had never happened


Sir Lindsay (left) responded by accepting the apology from Mr Bryant (right), saying it ‘draws a line’ under the episode

However, Mr Bryant seemingly misunderstood and thought he was being ordered to leave the chamber. 

‘He raised a hand and mimed, ‘f*** off’,’ the witness said.

Mr Bryant then left as Sir Lindsay shouted: ‘We’re not having that disgraceful behaviour.’ 

Mr Bryant has denied swearing in the chamber. 

Sir Lindsay – who has the final say on all behaviour in the chamber – had not taken any further action, viewing it as a matter for Labour. The party did not pursue the case as it was a ‘matter between the chair and an MP’. 

There have been long-running tensions between Sir Lindsay and Mr Bryant, with the latter finishing runner-up to the Speaker in the battle to replace John Bercow last year.    

The row last week began after Sir Lindsay took exception to Mr Bryant’s ‘chuntering’ during the Prime Minister’s address and told him to stop standing so close to other members

Mr Bryant told the Commons today: ‘I am utterly mortified by the events of last week when my heckling interrupted proceedings during Prime Minister’s Questions and when I challenged the authority of the chair.

‘I entered into an altercation with the chair and I did not treat the chair with due respect.

‘That is unacceptable and I apologise unreservedly to the House and to you personally, Mr Speaker.

‘I really wish none of this had ever occurred and I fully accept my conduct was unacceptable.’

Sir Lindsay replied: ‘Can I say I accept your apology and I am content that that draws a line under the matter.’

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