MPs told off for playing football in the House of Commons

MPs told off for playing football in House of Commons

Hannah Bardell, Stephanie Peacock, Alison McGovern, Louise Haigh and Tracey Crouch posing in the House of Commons. Image: Hannah Bardell/Twitter

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Speaker John Bercow has reprimanded a group of MPs for playing football in the House of Commons.

He said the "historic" chamber should not be used for a kickabout, adding he had received "fulsome" letters of apology from three of the MPs involved.

The SNP's Hannah Bardell was filmed playing keepy-uppy with a football in the chamber and posing for photos with other MPs, including making use of the despatch boxes and Speaker's chair, after the sitting had been adjourned on Tuesday.

They had been due to play for the UK Women's Parliamentary Football Club but had to cancel their first game as it was expected to clash with votes.

Conservative former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch and Labour's Alison McGovern, Louise Haigh and Stephanie Peacock were the other MPs kitted out in the Commons, with Mr Bercow said to have given his permission.


'Fulsome letters of apology'

But Mr Bercow made a statement to the Commons on Wednesday, telling MPs: "It has been brought to my attention that some football skills were displayed in the chamber yesterday evening after the House rose.

"I am informed that the doorkeepers on duty told the members concerned that the chamber was not the place for this activity, however, those doorkeepers were advised that permission had been given.

"Let me assure the House that that permission certainly did not come from me.

"I have received gracious, indeed fulsome, letters of apology from (Ms Crouch, Ms Peacock and Ms Haigh) in relation to this incident.

"I think I can speak for us all when I say that our historic chamber should not be used for this type of activity and I gently remind colleagues if they are seeking to use the chamber outside of sitting hours beyond for the purpose of simply showing it to guests, frankly they should write to me asking for their request to be considered.

"I have said what I have said, there are no hard feelings and I consider the matter to be closed."