The Labour Chair of the Committees on Standards and Privileges denounced the scenes that unfolded ahead of a fracking vote in the Commons on Wednesday. Mr Bryant said the astonishing incident had left a Tory colleague “crying on my shoulder”. Speaking to the Today programme, the Labour MP said: “I have never seen scenes like that, and lots of other MPs have said the same, including you know Charles Walker was saying pretty much the same last night.
“Honestly, this was the most extraordinary scene that I’ve seen in my time, and anyway, even if it has happened in the past, that is not how we should do our business – we are not the Italian parliament – and all of this is happening because there is complete chaos in Government. There isn’t a Government.
“And when the thread of Government sort of falls apart, this is what will end up happening day in day out: you will just have complete and utter chaos.
“I had Tory MPs later in the evening literally, including one whip actually, crying on my shoulder.
“They are in the territory of being utterly desperate about what’s going on.”
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Mr Bryant claimed to have witnessed several Conservative MPs, including Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg and Deputy Prime Minister Thérèse Coffey, encircling one colleague to pressure them into voting.
The Labour MP also said to have viewed photographic evidence of “manhandling”, reporting having seen one Tory MP putting their hand on a colleague in an intimidating move.
Mr Rees-Mogg however rebuked the claims, saying he had simply been “reassuring” wavering colleagues about backing the Government.
Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle confirmed on Thursday an investigation had been launched on the allegations of bullying and manhandling.
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Transport Secretary Anne Marie-Trevelyan said it is “never acceptable” for MPs to be “manhandled” into voting, adding she was “shocked” by reports from the Commons on Wednesday evening.
Ms Trevelyan said she “wasn’t there”, as she had voted earlier, but told Sky News: “I don’t think it’s ever acceptable for any party – and we have seen this happen before, where whips perhaps over-egg their encouragement to get people to vote in the appropriate way – that is never right.
“The one thing that our Parliament is so revered around the world for is that we allow each of us to vote with our conscience, and indeed with our Government on important matters.”
Asked if she was embarrassed by the events of Wednesday evening: “As I say, I wasn’t in the lobbies but I am shocked to hear the descriptions of what went on.
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“I hope that Mr Speaker will be investigating closely, as I’m sure he will, to ensure that these scenes and indeed these situations do not happen again.”
Former vice-chairman of the 1922 Committee Sir Charles Walker the scenes were “an absolute disgrace” for the party.
Sir Charles said he was “livid” and warned that unless Conservatives start to “behave like grown-ups” then “perhaps 200” MPs could find themselves out of jobs.
Speaking after Labour’s motion was defeated by 230 votes to 326, Sir Charles told BBC News: “To be perfectly honest, this whole affair is inexcusable.
“It is a pitiful reflection on the Conservative Parliamentary Party at every level and it reflects really badly, obviously, on the Government of the day.”