UK democracy still recovering after another turbulent year, says Speaker
By Dominic McGrath, PA
The Speaker of the House of Commons has acknowledged that the political turmoil of the last year left Britain an international laughing stock.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle also suggested that British democracy was still trying to recover from the divisions of Brexit, as he reflected on a year which saw Boris Johnson’s administration collapse and Liz Truss forced from office after only a few weeks in Number 10.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, he also insisted that Parliament is a safe place for young women and men, despite allegations of sexual assault, harassment and inappropriate behaviour against various MPs.
Asked if he agreed that the turbulent political year had made the UK a laughingstock, he said: “It did and I think it’s the disappointment of what went on, the way it went along, you know, and people wondering what was happening to our democracy?”
Sir Lindsay, who presided over much of the drama that dominated the Commons over the last 12 months, appeared to suggest that the UK was still recovering from the divisions of Brexit.
Asked if the last year had damaged democracy, he said: “Well, I think I think we’re still struggling to recover, as I said, from Brexit. I think that’s been part of our problem, when you look back, and it’s always difficult, isn’t it? You know, it divided families, and there was real division there. And we’ve been trying to heal that.”
The Speaker told the programme that Parliament was safe for young people. He also said he would ensure the rules of the House are followed.
He added: “It’s about the rules of the House – I take them very seriously.
“I would always say anything serious please go to the police – don’t even think of anything else would always be my advice. And I always say to passholders of the House – my door’s open. If you’ve got issues, you’ve got problems come and see me. Let’s see if we can help you.”