John McDonnell suspended from the House of Commons for handling mace

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 15, 2009

Category: Video

This entry was posted on
Thursday, January 15th, 2009
6:19 pm and is filed
under Video.

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.”

John McDonnell suspended from house of commons

1. I bet more people will see this YouTube video before the end of the day than this P.O.S., or this one.

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.)

UPDATE – You can tell John what you thought of his gesture on his blog. Many people have already done so under this post.


  1. Tom says

    What is it about aviation and the Mace? Michael Heseltine, a previous champion mace wielder, was Minister for Aviation in the early 1970s before getting mixed up in the Westland thing.

  2. Guy Gooberman says

    I've blogged over at mine that the BBC has now seemingly pulled the footage of the mace handling all together.

  3. Manic says

    So they have. They've removed the video from this article:…And *totally* removed this page that carried video and a small amount of text:…Google has a cache of the latter if you're quick:'s a bit worrying. Most likely excuse is that broadcasting disrespect for the mace is disrespectful of the mace.

  4. CPLOL says

    The mace ace footage is still available via this post.

  5. Farzana says
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