This entry was posted on
Thursday, January 15th, 2009 at
6:19 pm and is filed
Guardian – Labour MP suspended from Commons over Heathrow protest: A Labour MP was suspended from the Commons for five days today after grabbing the Speaker’s mace in protest at the government’s decision to allow a third runway at Heathrow.
BBC – MP suspended after mace protest: John McDonnell was sanctioned after he picked up the mace, the ornamental club which represents the royal authority of Parliament, in a breach of protocol… Anyone manhandling the mace is considered in contempt of Parliament… During a statement by Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon on Heathrow Mr McDonnell left his seat, grabbed the mace – which dates from the reign of Charles II – and put it down on an empty bench on the Labour side of the House. While doing so, he shouted: “It’s a disgrace to the democracy of this country.”
2. Tch. I had Geoff Hoon figured all wrong. I thought in a situation like that he would theatrically scream “Look out! He’s got a weapon!” while moving to shield nearby infants with his body. Perhaps none were available at the time. Maybe he will wake up at 3am and realise that he should have at least taken a dive or something. Oh well.
3. The BBC footage clearly shows the mace-wielding component of proceedings and, as you can see, it was not waved or brandished in a threatening manner, merely handled in a deliberately disrespectful manner and dumped on a bench… but look out for spin that suggests otherwise. There’s more than one way to shift a troublesome MP.
(Heads-up via Carl and the slightly over-excited folk over at OH.)