Syria air strikes vote: MPs slammed for 'despicable' laughter after vote to take Britain to war

John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, made a joke about further business that was unrelated to the conflict

Lizzie Dearden
Thursday 03 December 2015 01:21 GMT
MPs laugh after Syria air strike result

MPs broke out into laughter moments after voting to extend British air strikes into Syria, sparking outrage on social media.

The light-hearted moment came in response to a joke by the House of Commons Speaker and was not related to the conflict, but many viewers watching the culmination of the 11-hour debate missed the transition.

“Not only have innocent people been condemned to die, but the MPs are laughing about it,” one person wrote, while another said they were “sickened”.

John Bercow read out the result of the historic vote in a solemn silence to MPs packed in the House of Commons chamber.

Politicians lined benches and stood with their hands clasped as the Speaker announced victory for the Government by 397 votes to 223.

“Order, we come now to the petition…” he continued, joking about the prospect of further Parliamentary business following 11 hours of debate.

Mr Bercow grinned as some MPs broke into relieved laughter before finally leaving the chamber.

Craig Stone shared a photo of the Speaker on Twitter, writing: “Air strikes approved, and the house erupts into laughter. Stay classy, politics.”

We asked people why they don’t want to bomb Syria - this is what they said

His tweet has since been shared more than 1,800 times, with commentators writing that the joke had been in “poor taste” and “inappropriate”.

“It frustrates me so much, how do they sleep knowing innocent civilians are going to die,” one person asked.

But many viewers defended MPs and pointed out that the laughter was not directly related to the vote on Syria.

“The Speaker was answering a point of order on a different subject. Don’t let that spoil your indignant rant,” Barry White wrote.

“I guess we don't know what it's like to debate for 12 hours with the tensions involved and then reach an end,” said another Twitter user.

It was not the only moment of levity during the marathon debate. Mr Bercow was also congratulated for spending more than seven hours in his chair by Labour MP Barry Gardiner, who added: “I must admire your bladder”.

Mr Bercow replied: “I'm extremely grateful.”

Tom Tugendhat, the Tory MP for Tonbridge and Malling, added: “May I also give praise to your endurance rather than any other part of your anatomy.”

David Cameron has said MPs took the “right decision to keep the UK safe” after Wednesday night’s vote.

RAF jets and drones were poised to carry out air strikes on the jihadist terror group within hours of the decision.

Additional reporting by PA

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