While some parliaments around the world feature punch-ups when lawmakers fall out over policy, the U.K.’s House of Commons goes to great lengths to keep debate under control.
And given the tension and division over Brexit, it’s lucky it does. Most of the time.
Scottish National Party Westminster leader Ian Blackford was forced to withdraw his comments under Commons rules after shouting “Liar”.
MPs are not allowed to accuse other members of dishonesty in the chamber.
Mr Blackford had attacked the Prime Minister for failing to publish an economic analysis of her Brexit deal.
The Government published predictions for what could happen to the economy under a number of Brexit outcomes – but not specifically for Mrs May’s declared Brexit deal.
Mrs May said: “I think that the points that he made are the same points that he’s been making in response to my statements regardless of the content of my statements for some time now.
“He talks about the economic analysis. We did publish an economic analysis of the proposals that the government had put forward.”
Sitting on his party’s front bench, Mr Blackford shouted: “That’s not true!”
Speaker John Bercow interjected: “There’s plenty of scope for disagreement about what is true and what isn’t true. But in fairness I repeat the point that the person who has the floor must be heard.”
“Can I say to the right honourable gentleman, I think in his intervention from a sedentary position, he may have inadvertently misled the house on this matter.
Mr Blackford shouted: “Liar!”
Tory MPs exploded in fury, as Speaker Bercow again interjected, saying: “I hope the word ‘liar’ wasn’t used”
He ordered Mr Blackford to withdraw the comment “at once”.
“I’m not debating it, I’m not arguing. That word must be withdrawn at once…I simply ask the right honourable gentleman to withdraw that word.
“He cannot accuse another member of this house of dishonesty.”
Mr Blackford rose to his feet, and said: “In courtesy to yourself, I withdraw.”
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