Government wins fracking vote amid chaotic Commons scenes
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Chris Bryant has received a torrent of jeers from the Conservative backbenchers during Prime Minister’s Questions after he doubled down on his accusations of inappropriate behaviour during a Commons vote on fracking in October. As he rose to ask his question to the new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, MPs shouted at him from across the floor, before the Labour MP said he would not be “bullied into silence”. On Tuesday, Mr Bryant suggested the findings by an internal investigation into the alleged manhandling of MPs in Commons on October 19 that there was no “bullying” was false, adding that he would “not withdraw a single word” of his complaint.
As Mr Braynt stands up, a few Conservative backbenchers begin to jeer in low tones from the opposite side of the Commons.
The Labour MP then said: “I am not going to be bullied into silence by anyone in this House.”
His comment triggered a wave of jeers from the Conservative Party, evidently furious at his remarks about the fracking vote incident.
Mr Bryant then stands silent and still as the jeering grows louder, grimacing as he is forced to wait to ask his question.
The tension between the Conservative Party and the Chair of the Committees on Standards and Privileges in Parliament has arisen over comments made by Mr Bryant about an incident during a fracking vote in October.
In what proved to be one of the final days of Liz Truss’ premiership, cabinet ministers were accused of forcibly pushing Tory MPs into the voting stations to go against Labour’s attempts to block a Conservative u-turn on fracking.
Mr Bryant, present for the vote, was one of the most vocal in his accusations.
Speaking in the House of Commons after the announcement that Labour had lost the vote on banning fracking, he said MPs should be able to vote “without fear or favour”, adding that “we want to stand up against bullying”.
The following day, he told the Today programme that the actions of certain minister had been “very aggressive, very angry”, describing it as “clear bullying and intimidation”.
He said: “I saw a whole swathe of MPs effectively pushing one member straight through the door. I’ve seen photographic evidence of one MP’s hand on another.
“I have never seen scenes like that. All of this is happening because there is complete chaos in the government.”
He added that Tory MPs, including one whip, were “literally crying on my shoulder”.
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But earlier this week, an internal investigation found there had been no bullying during the fracking vote.
Nonetheless, Mr Bryant refused to walk back his earlier comments, though he said was not “challenging” the findings.
Speaking after Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House, announced the results of the investigation, Mr Hoyle said: “I am not challenging the ruling of the speaker but I know what I saw and I am not withdrawing a single word.
“It may be that some people feel that they weren’t bullied but I saw intimidatory behaviour.”
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