MPs rapped over fitba fun

Bardell fails to apol­o­gise to Speaker

West Lothian Courier - - News - Deb­bie Hall

Liv­ingston MP Han­nah Bardell has been rep­ri­manded for lark­ing around with a foot­ball in the House of Com­mons.

Speaker John Ber­cow rep­ri­manded her and other MPs for play­ing foot­ball in the “his­toric” cham­ber, adding he had re­ceived “ful­some” let­ters of apol­ogy from three of the MPs in­volved.

Ms Bardell was filmed play­ing keepy- uppy with a foot­ball in the cham­ber and pos­ing for pho­tos with other MPs, in­clud­ing mak­ing use of the despatch boxes and Speaker’s chair, af­ter the sit­ting had been ad­journed on Tues­day.

They are mem­bers of the UK Women’s Par­lia­men­tary Foot­ball Club and had been due to play, but had to can­cel their first game as it was ex­pected to clash with votes.

Con­ser­va­tive for­mer sports min­is­ter Tracey Crouch and Labour’s Al­i­son McGovern, Louise Haigh and Stephanie Pea­cock were the other MPs kit­ted out in the Com­mons, with Mr Ber­cow said to have given his per­mis­sion.

But Mr Ber­cow made a state­ment to the Com­mons on Wed­nes­day, telling MPs: “It has been brought to my at­ten­tion that some foot­ball skills were dis­played in the cham­ber yes­ter­day evening af­ter the House rose.

“I am in­formed that the door­keep­ers on duty told the mem­bers con­cerned that the cham­ber was not the place for this ac­tiv­ity, how­ever, those door­keep­ers were ad­vised that per­mis­sion had been given.

“Let me as­sure the House that that per­mis­sion cer­tainly did not come from me.

“I have re­ceived gra­cious, in­deed ful­some, let­ters of apol­ogy from (Ms Crouch, Ms Pea­cock and Ms Haigh) in re­la­tion to this in­ci­dent.

“I think I can speak for us all when I say that our his­toric cham­ber should not be used for this type of ac­tiv­ity and I gen­tly re­mind col­leagues if they are seek­ing to use the cham­ber out­side of sit­ting hours be­yond for the pur­pose of sim­ply show­ing it to guests, frankly they should write to me ask­ing for their re­quest to be con­sid­ered.

“I have said what I have said, there are no hard feel­ings and I con­sider the mat­ter to be closed.”

SNP MP Han­nah Bardell said: “I ac­knowl­edge what the Speaker said and have great re­spect for him but don’t see the need to apol­o­gise.

“He’s said the mat­ter is now closed. At a time when pol­i­tics is deeply di­vided this was a bit of fun on a cross party ba­sis and the women’s par­lia­men­tary team are seek­ing to cut through some of the di­vi­sions through sport and foot­ball.

“I’d say it’s 1-0 to Com­mons sense and fun.”

This was a bit of fun on a cross party ba­sis

Rep­ri­manded by the Speaker Liv­ingston MP, Han­nah Bardell

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