17 November 2021

You may be the Prime Minister of this country but in this House I’m in charge! How Commons Speaker put Boris Johnson in his place

17 November 2021

Boris Johnson was slapped down by Sir Lindsay Hoyle at a rowdy Prime Minister’s Questions, with the Speaker telling the premier: “I’m in charge.”

The Prime Minister clashed with Sir Keir Starmer over allegations of Westminster sleaze, repeatedly challenging his rival to reveal the source of fees paid for legal work before he became Labour leader.

Sir Lindsay told Mr Johnson: “I don’t want to fall out about it, I’ve made it very clear – it is Prime Minister’s Questions, it’s not for the Opposition to answer your questions.

I’m not going to be challenged, you may be the Prime Minister of this country but in this House I’m in charge

“Whether we like it or not those are the rules of the game that we’re all into and we play by the rules, don’t we? And we respect this House, so let’s respect the House.”

After Mr Johnson attempted to ask again about the issue in a later exchange, the Speaker said: “Prime Minister, sit down. I’m not going to be challenged, you may be the Prime Minister of this country but in this House I’m in charge.”

At the end of tetchy exchanges between Mr Johnson and Sir Keir, the Speaker said: “I don’t think this has done this House any good today. I’ll be quite honest, I think it’s been ill-tempered, I think it shows the public that this House has not learnt from the other week, I need this House to gain respect but it starts by individuals showing respect for each other.”

Sir Keir accused Mr Johnson of being “a coward, not a leader” during the session.

The Speaker later noted: “Coward’ is not what is used in this House.”

Sir Keir replied: “I withdraw it, but he’s no leader.”

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