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Sir Lindsay Hoyle: Speaker accused of 'party politics' over Gaza vote

Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle has been embroiled in controversy for allegedly indulging in "party politics."

Hoyle permitted a vote on the Labour Party's motion for a Gaza ceasefire, deviating from usual procedures, which angered SNP and Conservative members.
Despite his claim that his decision was aimed at ensuring MPs' safety, it resulted in turmoil in the Commons, leading to an apology from Sir Lindsay and calls for his resignation.

This incident enabled Labour to push for a ceasefire without supporting an SNP motion and possibly causing an internal Labour disagreement.

Health Minister Maria Caulfield accused Hoyle of succumbing to Labour pressure and compromising his duty to remain neutral, an allegation both Labour and a source close to Hoyle have denied.

A motion backed by 56 MPs from the Tory and SNP has been signed to express no confidence in Hoyle, and discussions are planned to address the issue.

The conflict arose during a debate assigned to the SNP, who had proposed a motion for an "immediate ceasefire" in Gaza. Labour suggested a similar ceasefire amendment but included conditions for Israel's response to Hamas.

Hoyle's allowance for a vote on Labour's amendment, according to critics, commandeered the vote for Labour's agenda, prompting some MPs to walk out in protest. In November, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer faced a significant revolt when members supported an SNP-backed ceasefire.

The SNP accused Hoyle of conspiring with Labour to prevent a vote on their motion. Labour's Pat McFadden admitted Sir Keir had spoken to Hoyle but refuted that the Speaker was manipulated, instead pointing to the Conservative's abstention from the vote as the reason for the negated SNP motion. Caulfield argued that the decision unfairly exposed Conservative MPs to criticism.

Calls to remove Hoyle lack a formal mechanism, yet it is customary for Speakers to enjoy the confidence of key parties. An early day motion expressing no confidence has gathered additional signatures, with some MPs questioning Hoyle's suitability for his role.

Former Conservative minister Robert Buckland has accepted Hoyle's apology and does not seek a confidence vote. Hoyle, initially elected as a Labour MP, stepped down from the party upon assuming the Speaker's role.

The conflict in Gaza escalated after Hamas's attack on Israel on October 7, resulting in numerous casualties on both sides, and the UN has accepted the death toll provided by the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.

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