MPs must be ‘nicer and kinder’ in Commons to win public respect, says Speaker Hoyle

‘If we haven’t democracy, what have we got? A Putin? A despot parliament?’ asks Sir Lindsay Hoyle

Adam Forrest
Tuesday 12 April 2022 11:09
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Sir David Amess killer convicted of murder

MPs should be “nicer and kinder” in the Commons in a bid to build public respect and trust, said Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle as he called for an end to hatred of politicians.

Sir Lindsay said MPs and political staff remain “traumatised” by the murder of Sir David Amess, and continue to struggle amid fears for their security.

“Let’s show a nicer and kinder politics within the chamber,” the Speaker told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, after Sir David’s killer was convicted at the Old Bailey on Monday.

Sir Lindsay: “I do want a kinder politics, I want a nicer politics, I want a belief in politics. If we haven’t democracy, what have we got? A Putin? A despot parliament? Nobody wants that.”

He added “So it is about the respect of politicians, it’s building trust with constituents, it’s getting them to believe in us and working with them. And in the end, the attack took place because these people do not believe in the values of our democracy.”

Sir Lindsay added: “We’ve got to bring people with us, we’ve got to get that trust back in politicians, that belief in politicians.”

Asked if MPs in different parties do enough to praise each other, Sir Lindsay said: “I think we can do more. It is about being tolerant. It is about respect as well – views will differ but in the end, it’s how you have a different view.”

Hoyle said MPs will “never give into terrorism” after IS fanatic Ali Harbi Ali was convicted of murdering Sir David. The Conservative MP was stabbed more than 20 times at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

The Commons Speaker said the parliamentary authorities were “always reviewing security but what I will say is we will do everything we can to protect and encourage, and make sure that people feel safe”.

Sir Lindsay later added: “David would always say one thing – he was a great friend of mine – he believed and loved being an MP, and nothing would stop him doing that, whatever happened.”

He said some MPs remain worried about their safety, after Sir David was stabbed more than 20 times by twisted London-born extremist Ali Harbi Ali at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

Sir Lindsay called for the “hate” in politics to stop. It came against a background of criminal convictions handed out to people for sending threats to MPs, such as Jess Phillips, Rosie Cooper and former politician Anna Soubry.

Diane Abbott also said she had seen an increase in the amount of online abuse and threats she received in the six weeks after Sir David’s death.

Asked whether the situation had since improved, the Commons Speaker said: “It’s like a thermometer, it goes up and down. So we have had spikes of hate and anger, and then it eases down a bit.”

But he added: “Whatever the political persuasion, there is real hate and anger out there. It really affected MPs more than it did before. And I would say that we’ve got to help and support those MPs who have struggled since that hideous attack.”

Sir Lindsay cautioned against MPs falling into a “comfort zone” as time moves on.

Hoyle added: “We cannot afford Sir David’s death to be in vain, we’ve got to keep reminding people, you’ve got to keep working on that. And we’ve got to make sure we do the best.”

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