UK

Paul Flynn Demands John Bercow Lift Ban On Naming War Dead For Parity With Domestic Violence Victims

15/03/2016 15:51 GMT

A Labour MP has demanded his colleagues be able to read out the names of fallen soldiers in the Commons, referencing a "very powerful” speech by Jess Phillips that listed deceased victims of domestic violence.

Paul Flynn implored Speaker John Bercow to lift the six-year-old ban that stops MPs from reciting the names of veterans killed in service, saying the imbalance left the House in a “strange position”.

Bercow admitted he was open to the rule being broken on a “case-by-case basis” but would not support a blanket back-track on list-reading as some MPs might abuse it as a “campaign tool”.

Posing the point, Flynn said Phillips’ “moving” address was praised by the Speaker himself, and that “the most striking part of that speech was when she read out the names of women who’ve died in the past year as a result of domestic violence”.

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But, he said: “In 2009, after lists of those who had fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan had been read in this chamber, a prohibition was introduced from the chair saying that no longer would members be allowed to read out lists of the fallen.

“We’re now in the strange position where it’s permissible to read out those who’ve died as a result of domestic violence but it’s prohibited to read out a list of those who have fallen in the service of this country.”

Bercow responded by saying it was a "matter of judgement for the Chair" and that he feared reciting names might become a "very regular phenomenon".

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He told Flynn: "These are matters are, I think, best approached on a case-by-case basis.

"My concern is that there should be reasonableness and balance in these matters.

"I don’t think the house would receive it well if list-reading became a very regular phenomenon, or indeed, if i may say so, a repetitive campaign tool.

"However, I simply say to the Honourable Gentleman that it is open to members to seek my thought in advance on these matters if they have such an intention in mind."