A Labour MP has described the chaotic scenes in Parliament on Monday night when members of the House of Commons tried to block the suspension of Parliament.
Earlier on Monday, 9 September, the Speaker of the House, John Bercow had announced he planned to stand down at the end of next month or at the general election, whichever comes first.
As the speaker returns : the opposition benches clap Speaker Bercow for standing up for Parliament and fuilfilling his duty. He will he missed. pic.twitter.com/tL7pBubnHi— Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP 🌹🇪🇺🏳️🌈 (@lloyd_rm) September 10, 2019
Mr Bercow, although he was elected as a Conservative MP, has been a thorn in the side of Mr Johnson and his predecessor, Theresa May, as they tried to stretch parliamentary rules to push through Brexit withdrawal bills.
But around 2am, as Mr Bercow prepared to formally introduction the prorogation of Parliament - suspending the session for five weeks until 14 October, there was pandemonium in the chamber.
Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle and several colleagues tried to manhandle Mr Bercow.
Mr Russell-Moyle admitted: “I held onto his leg I think it was and others held onto his arm. We took a symbolic protest to say to Speaker Bercow ‘no we don’t want you to go’ and held him in place temporarily.”
Eventually Mr Russell-Moyle and several other Labour MPs were bundled aside by Black Rod and other Commons officials and the chamber was cleared.
Labour MP Clive Lewis, a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, said: “We held up signs which said ‘Silenced’ because we believe parliament is being silenced.”
I know you’re not meant to film in the chamber, but everyone on the opposition benches is singing and this moment was beautiful. pic.twitter.com/MfQzpdTHRa— Danielle Rowley MP (@DaniRowley) September 10, 2019
Before they left Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and a handful of Labour MPs broke into a spontaneous chorus of The Red Flag while SNP MPs responded by singing Flower of Scotland.
Earlier MPs had blocked Mr Johnson’s plans for a snap general election on 15 October 15 - his sixth Commons defeat in just six days.
While the arcane ceremony of #prorogation took place in the #Lords this morning, Labour and SNP members remained in the #Commons singing The Red Flag and Flower of Scotland - so Rees Mogg ordered Tory MPs not to return to the Commons to shake Speaker John Bercow's hand— Mark Blacklock (@MarxMedia) September 10, 2019
It is not immediately clear what will happen next.
Parliament will return for the Queen’s Speech on 14 October and Mr Johnson will then come under intense pressure to demand an extension of the Brexit process until after 31 October, despite saying he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask for an extension.
But with Parliament blocking a no-deal exit, he may have to call for the extension and then try to get Labour’s agreement to a general election.