Labour MP tries to stop Commons debate by grabbing ceremonial mace

Labour MP causes outrage in the House of Commons by attempting to stop a Brexit debate by grabbing the ceremonial mace

  • Lloyd Russell-Moyle grabbed the relic during a debate on Brexit on Monday 
  • He was stopped by House of Commons security after he took the huge mace 
  • Speaker John Bercow then ordered Russell-Moyle to leave the chamber 

A Labour MP was suspended from the Commons after he picked up the ceremonial mace in protest at the Brexit vote being deferred.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle reacted furiously after the Government whip formally postponed the vote – because Theresa May was facing a humiliating defeat.

The mace is the symbol of the authority of the House and during sittings is placed on the table next to the despatch box in front of the Speaker.

In scenes of uproar, the backbencher – who represents Brighton Kemptown – strode forward and grabbed the mace before trying to carry it out of the Chamber.

Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the member of Parliament for Brighton Kemptown, grabbed the ceremonial mace on Monday night before being thrown out of the house

Mr Russell-Moyle, who won his seat at last year’s general election, was stopped by two female Serjeant at Arms staff. He put up no resistance and handed over the ornament.

He remained in the chamber looking at the Speaker and said nothing as MPs gasped. Tory MPs screamed ‘expel him’ as Speaker John Bercow rose to his feet.

Immediately after the incident, Russell-Moyle tweeted: ‘Thankfully they haven’t locked me in the Tower of London but if they had I’d expect May to be in the cell next to me for her treatment of Parliament today.

‘I’m allowed back tomorrow after my symbolic protest against this government, wish May wasn’t allowed back.’

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Citing historic Commons rules, Mr Bercow booted the MP out of the Commons for the rest of the day’s sitting – less than two hours.

Russell-Moyle was roundly jeered by MPs as he performed his stunt as Bercow shouted: ‘Order! Order! Put it back!’ 

Mr Russell-Moyle initially refused the order and remained in the House before Mr Bercow said: ‘He must leave or be escorted’, at which point he left.

In 2009, Labour’s John McDonnell – now the Shadow Chancellor was suspended from the Commons for five days after he picked up the mace during heated exchanges on the Government’s decision to go ahead with a third runway at Heathrow.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle (pictured) was roundly jeered as he swiped the mace from its position in the center of the house

He marched from the back benches down the steps before picking up the mace and placing it on an empty Labour front bench.

And as a young MP, Lord Heseltine, grabbed the Commons mace in 1976 in fury at the then Labour government’s decision to breach a pairing convention to force through a measure by one vote.

Under the convention, opposing whips agree deals to pair off MPs who are unable to make a vote. 

The mace is employed to represent the Queen’s authority within Parliament, and was made in London in 1667.

Parliament cannot lawfully meet without the Mace, representing the monarch’s authority, being present in the chambers.

The maces are carried into, and out of, the two chambers in procession at the beginning and end of each day.    

Mr Russell-Moyle tweeted soon after the incident that he ‘hadn’t been locked in the Tower of London’

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