'Hardly an avalanche': SNP and Tory anger at Speaker Lindsay Hoyle unlikely to lead to removal

Sir Lindsay Hoyle caused uproar in the Commons chamber when he controversially selected a Labour amendment on the SNP's opposition day, but still he clings on, ITV News Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana reports

It feels as if the House of Commons Speaker will survive this week's political chaos, but only just.

The threat to Lindsay Hoyle's position seems to have dissipated somewhat during the day.

There is an early-day motion calling for a vote of no confidence, and it has been signed by almost 70 MPs.

But even Tories and SNP figures admit that it would need more than 200 signatories to be a serious threat.

"It's hardly an avalanche," said one whip.

Other MPs have called for colleagues to accept Hoyle's apology for his mistake and let parliament move on.

The level of chaos in parliament yesterday over - effectively - the order of amendments will seem totally baffling to voters.

As the Conservative's Leader of the House, Penny Mordaunt, admitted most people aren't worrying about Standing Orders, nor discussing the parliamentary process over the breakfast table.

But she argued it was about fairness.

After initially criticising Lindsay Hoyle, Penny Mordaunt went on blame the Labour Party for chaotic scenes in the Commons on Wednesday. Credit: PA

Wednesday was supposed to be the SNP's day in parliament when they would force other parties to vote on their motion calling for a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza.

Labour didn't support the wording - though did want a ceasefire. So they laid down an alternative amendment.

Then the government laid down theirs and the parliamentary convention said the Speaker should allow a vote on the SNP motion and then the government one only.

However, threatened with a huge rebellion (some 100 Labour MPs wanted to support the SNP including shadow cabinet members) Keir Starmer pushed Hoyle to let Labour have a vote first.

In doing so - he caused fury, that resulted in the Tories collapsing the process, Labour's amendment being passed on the nod- and no one voting on the SNP's version.

Tories and Scottish nationalists were furious - and that hadn't dipped this morning. One Conservative MP messaged to say - "temperature only going up this morning from what I can see... I don't think he will survive".

When I asked another what the anger levels were they said - "very high". And WhatsApp's shared between MPs reiterated that mood.

"He may well be a good man ‘overall’ but he made a monumental mistake that has ramifications far and wide," said one.

"I like him but he played high-stakes politics, and lost, badly."

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn called for a vote of no confidence in Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle after his handling of the Gaza vote. Credit: PA

Most upset were the SNP - with Westminster leader Stephen Flynn - saying he'd lost confidence in Hoyle. He - and then the party's chief whip, Owen Thompson, went to see Hoyle today.

Afterwards, I spoke to Thompson who described his frustration about the mayhem on a day that was meant to be about giving a smaller party its voice.

He said the Speaker had promised him that whatever happened the SNP would get a vote on their motion (but the whole thing collapsed when the government refused to vote on the Labour amendment).

He said he was considering Hoyle's offer of an emergency decade on Monday - allowing the SNP to put forward its ceasefire again for a vote (a move that would again break with convention).

'I don't know if Labour threatened the Speaker': SNP Chief Whip Owen Thompson told Anushka Asthana that if any attempt to influence Sir Lindsay Hoyle was made it needs 'to be looked at in great detail'

Hoyle apologised to the SNP and insisted he'd got it wrong. But he explained his reasoning - around MP safety.

Starmer had argued that not letting Labour put forward its own ceasefire motion (meaning many would then be accused of opposing the policy by abstaining on the SNP's ceasefire call because of certain language) could result in MPs facing abuse.

Some frontbenchers have faced nasty protests over their failure to go harder on the question of Gaza.

Other MPs said opposition days were always used politically and MPs faced abuse over many issues, including for voting against Labour opposition day motions, for example on sewage.

But they acknowledged that Hoyle was obsessed with protecting MPs from abuse and said his mistake came from a good place.

Meanwhile aid charities told us that people in Gaza would be heartbroken to see British MPs focus so much on the terminology, when what they believed was necessary was action.

It's undoubtedly been Hoyle's biggest challenge from which he's emerging on his feet but significantly damaged.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...