An MP was allowed to wield an American football in the House of Commons yesterday, despite the usual ban on props which in the past has even extended to an orange.
Peter Bone, the Tory MP for Wellingborough, turned up with the ball to support the giving of 500 free tickets for an NFL match at Wembley on Sunday to British service personnel. He called for a statement to the House next week supporting the gesture – but his remarks were drowned out when opposition MPs spotted the ball.
However, Speaker John Bercow allowed him to proceed, saying: "On the whole we discourage the use of props in this chamber but... it is fine for him to hold the ball or even to put it down but not to do anything violent with it."
The Leader of the House, Sir George Young, said: "Mr Speaker, you are very generous.
"I remember a debate on oranges in this House when a member produced an orange and was severely rebuked for so doing because it had the potential to be an offensive weapon."