Commons suspended to mark Cameron tragedy

The House of Commons was suspended briefly today, and Prime Minister's Questions cancelled, as a "mark of respect" following the death of Tory leader David Cameron's disabled son Ivan.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown was joined at noon by shadow foreign secretary William Hague and Liberal Democrat deputy leader Vince Cable in delivering sombre messages of sympathy and condolence to Mr Cameron and his wife Samantha, in place of the usual exchanges.



Speaker Michael Martin then adjourned the House until 12.30pm.



Ivan, six, who suffered from cerebral palsy and a rare and severe epilepsy syndrome, was taken ill overnight and died at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, west London.



Mr and Mrs Cameron have two other children, Nancy, five, and Arthur, three.



Mr Brown, whose own baby daughter Jennifer Jane died aged just 10 days old in 2002, expressed his and his wife Sarah's sorrow at Ivan's death.



The premier, wearing a black tie, told MPs: "I know that the whole House will want to express our sorrow at the sad death this morning of Ivan Cameron at the age of just six years old.



"I know that in an all too brief life, he brought joy to all those around him and I know also that for all the days of his life, he was surrounded by his family's love.



"Every child is precious and irreplaceable and the death of a child is an unbearable sorrow that no parent should ever have to endure.



"Politics can sometimes divide us. But there is a common human bond that unites us in sympathy and compassion at times of trial and in support for each other at times of grief.



"Sarah and I have sent our condolences to David and Samantha and I know the whole country - our thoughts and our prayers - are with David, Samantha and their family today."



Mr Hague, who spoke to Mr Cameron before making his statement, said: "Ivan's six years of life were not easy ones.



"His parents lived with the knowledge for a long time that he could die young but this has made their loss no less heartbreaking."



He added: "Ivan their son suffered much in his short life but he brought joy and love to those around him.



"As David himself has said in the past, for him and Samantha he will always be their beautiful boy."



Mr Hague said the Camerons were "hugely grateful" to the NHS care workers who "not only did their utmost for their son this morning but have helped every day since he was born".



Mr Cable added: "I think everybody in the House has experienced bereavement, but there is something especially sad and shocking about the loss of a child.



"We recognise, I think all of us, that this is something that is especially difficult to cope with."



Speaker Martin then told MPs: "This House will share with me its sadness at this news and our hearts and sympathies go out to David and Samantha and to Nancy and Arthur.



"As a mark of respect to Ivan this House will suspend until 12.30pm this day."



The suspension of PMQs and normal Commons business usually only follows the death of a party leader or former premier.



But shortly after learning of the Camerons' loss, Mr Brown offered to cancel today's question time session.



The last time Prime Minister's Questions was suspended because of a bereavement was on 12 May 1994, following the unexpected death of Labour leader John Smith, aged 55, from a heart attack earlier that day.



Downing Street also announced that the formal unveiling of a new portrait of former prime minister Lady Thatcher, which Mr Cameron had been due to attend at Number 10 later, had been postponed.



Asked about the suspension of question time, Mr Brown's spokesman said: "The Prime Minister's view is that he wanted to consult the opposition parties and listen to their views and agree to a sensible way forward which marks the very difficult day it is going to be for everybody at Westminster."



A Conservative Party spokesman said: "Number 10 contacted David Cameron's office and offered to suspend PMQs. We at the time were preparing for PMQs with William Hague but we gratefully accepted Gordon Brown's offer."

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst/ Project Manager - Financial Services

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client in the Financial...

English Secondary Teacher

£110 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: English Teacher needed for ...

Year 3/4 Teacher - Immediate Start

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Year 3/4 Teacher Needed in Flintshire ...

English Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits