Monday, 18 May 2009
Mr Speaker's Statement
I went to the gallery in the House of Commons for Question Time and the statement by the Speaker which followed. It was the most extraordinary occasion that I have witnessed in Westminster. When he spoke - although the House; the Press Gallery and the Visitors' Galleries were all full - you could hear a pin drop. The points of order which followed led to audible gasps.
For me the moment my jaw dropped was when Sir Patrick Cormack invited the Speaker to reflect on the debate in the House of Commons after the fall of Norway in 1940. An obscure refererence - save for those who, like Sir Patrick, know their parliamentary history. Leo Amery concluded his speech in that debate by quoting the words of Cromwell -
"You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go."
It has been an extraordinary day here - and no end is in sight.