Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle blasts Matt Hancock over coronavirus announcements

PUBLISHED: 16:50 09 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:25 09 September 2020

House of Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle; BBC, Twitter

House of Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle; BBC, Twitter

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House of Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has scolded Matt Hancock for announcing changes to coronavirus restrictions to the media ahead of parliament.

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Sir Lindsay berated the health secretary in the House of Commons after news of legal changes to coronavirus restrictions were revealed by ITV’s Robert Peston.

The announcement, which makes it illegal for groups larger six people to meet from next Monday, was issued late Tuesday evening on Twitter.

Unimpressed, Sir Lindsay blasted Hancock for bypassing the parliament to announce legislative changes that would require the consent of MPs.

On a point of order, he said: “It was all over Twitter... somebody had decided to tell the media rather than this House.”

“What I would say is that I expect the secretary of state to apologise to members and make sure that this chamber knows first when he was fully aware - fully aware - of what was going to be said later.”

He added: “Let me say, if this minister wants to run this chamber ragged, I can assure you now that Urgent Questions every day might just begin to run him ragged.”

Sir Lindsay has been urging Boris Johnson and ministers to present policy changes to the Commons before announcing them to the media.

Footage of Sir Lindsay lambasting the health secretary has since gone viral.

“Has Lindsay Hoyle finally woken up to what this govt is up to?,” Miles King wrote.

One Twitter user posted: “Really pleased that @LindsayHoyle_MP has finally drawn a line in the sand and I hope he continues with this more strict attitude throughout the rest of the term. A good next step would be to ensure that the PM actually answers questions in #PMQs.”

“That told him,” another added.

BAFTA winning writer Gail Rennard called Sir Lindsay a “hero” while another user exclaimed “at last”.

Rory Prior quipped: “It’s almost like someone who was found in contempt of parliament is running the country.”

Writer Mollie Goodfellow likened Sir Lindsay demeanour to “when my mum finds out pertinent details about my life.”

Others have questioned the Speaker’s approach.

“Surely the public need to know ASAP?” Deborah said while another user wrote: “Protocol > Informing the public, it would seem.”

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