MPs receive telling off from John Bercow after House of Commons kickabout

Alison McGovern, Tracey Crouch, Hannah Bardell, Stephanie Peacock, and Stephanie Peacock Credit: Twitter/Hannah Bardell

Five MPs have received a telling off from John Bercow after they played football in the House of Commons.

The Speaker said the “historic” chamber should not be used for a kickabout, adding he had received “fulsome” letters of apology from three of the MPs involved.

Mr Bercow's sharp statement to the Commons on Wednesday came after Hannah Bardell was filmed doing keepy-uppies with a football in the chamber on Tuesday night.

The SNP MP then posed for photos with teammates Conservative former sports minister Tracey Crouch, and Labour’s Alison McGovern, Louise Haigh and Stephanie Peacock, that saw them make use of the despatch boxes and Speaker’s chair, after the sitting had been adjourned on Tuesday.

The MPs had been due to play for the UK Women’s Parliamentary Football Club but had to cancel their first game as it was expected to clash with votes.

While Louise Haigh tweeted to say that Mr Bercow gave them permission, the Speaker told the Commons this was not the case in his admonishment.

The group posed in the despatch boxes and Speaker’s chair with footballs. Credit: Twitter/Hannah Bardell

“It has been brought to my attention that some football skills were displayed in the chamber yesterday evening after the House rose," Mr Bercow said.

“I am informed that the doorkeepers on duty told the members concerned that the chamber was not the place for this activity, however, those doorkeepers were advised that permission had been given.

“Let me assure the House that that permission certainly did not come from me.

“I have received gracious, indeed fulsome, letters of apology from (Ms Crouch, Ms Peacock and Ms Haigh) in relation to this incident.

“I think I can speak for us all when I say that our historic chamber should not be used for this type of activity and I gently remind colleagues if they are seeking to use the chamber outside of sitting hours beyond for the purpose of simply showing it to guests, frankly they should write to me asking for their request to be considered.

“I have said what I have said, there are no hard feelings and I consider the matter to be closed.”

The team was forced to cancel their match after it was expected to clash with a vote. Credit: Twitter/Hannah Bardell