Farage uses first speech to insult ex-speaker as new parliament meets

Farage uses first speech to insult ex-speaker as new parliament meets

Parliament has met for the first time since last week’s General Election, in a session packed with traditions and formalities.

The House of Commons unanimously re-elected Sir Lindsay Hoyle as its speaker before speeches from the longest-serving male and female MPs – known as the Father and Mother of the House – and the party leaders.

They included the first parliamentary address by Reform UK leader Nigel Farage, who used his time to insult Hoyle’s predecessor in the speaker’s chair, John Bercow.

To groans from some other MPs, he said the current speaker’s behaviour stood in ‘marked contrast to the little man who came before you’.

He accused Bercow of doing ‘his best to overturn the biggest democratic result in the history of this country’ – referencing the then-speaker’s conduct during Brexit debates, which was criticised by some MPs at the time.

Most of the other speeches contained little in the way of politics, as is tradition in the first sitting of a parliament after a General Election.

New prime minister Keir Starmer and new leader of the opposition Rishi Sunak both paid tribute to Hoyle and the new Father of the House, Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh who was elected in 1983.

Ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who won his seat again at the July 4 election as an independent after being booted out his party, was also elected in 1983 but was sworn in after Sir Edward.

Ahead of his swearing-in today, Corbyn could be heard muttering ‘this is such a load of nonsense’ as the woman in front of him was asked which version of the Bible she would like to use.

Starmer and Sunak also paid tribute to the Mother of the House, Diane Abbott, who has served in the Commons since 1987. The Conservative leader described the UK’s first Black female MP as a ‘trailblazer’.

Sir Edward and Abbott both gave short speeches before the leaders of the other parties – including Sir Ed Davey of the Liberal Democrats, the largest third party in the House for more than 100 years – had their time in the spotlight.

There were 335 new MPs in the Commons today who had never sat on the benches before, setting a record.

They include Sam Carling, the 22-year-old Labour MP for North West Cambridgeshire, who is the first person elected to Westminster who was born in the 21st century.

The hours-long process of swearing in all 650 members is now taking place, and is expected to continue until Thursday.

After that, the House will not sit again until July 17, when the new government will set out its priorities in its first King’s Speech.

However, work does not stop for the PM, who is flying over to a Nato summit in the US to speak with President Joe Biden for the first time.

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