Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Justifying Bercow's brawl with Greg Mulholland

Today, a segment from the televised 'questions to the Secretary for Health' in the House of Commons is going viral after the speaker, John Bercow, put Greg Mulholland MP in his place for taking too long asking his question.

The video, widely shared over social media, shows the end of the question asked by Mulholland before Bercow gives the honorable gentleman a roasting. Bercow, in a patronising tone, exclaimed "It's a discourtesy to the house to be long winded" before going on and saying "don't argue the toss with the Chair". This was is undeniably rude however debatably justifiable.

Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland got told off today for talking too much. "Don't shake your head mate."
Posted by BuzzFeed UK Politics on Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The session was already overrunning and Mulholland's 'question' had already lasted 25 seconds before he was interrupted. That time was taken up by arguably unnecessary background information regarding a question which was previously answered. Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, will have been well aware of his previous correspondence so did not need to be reminded of it in front the rest of the House. In addition to this, most questions from MPs take just under 30 seconds to ask however when Mulholland was cut off at 25 seconds he didn't sound like he was close to coming to an end.

Bercow explained: "I am sympathetic to that, I respect that, but people can't simply take the attitude, 'my question's important and therefore I can be much longer' because that's not fair on other members".

The ordeal ended by Mulholland leaving the chamber, pointing angrily at Bercow for his controversial decision.