POLITICS
09/01/2019 14:26 GMT | Updated 09/01/2019 17:02 GMT

Tory Brexiteer Andrew Bridgen Mocks Paddy Ashdown Tribute With 'Vile' Heckle

He was called "disgraceful" after bellowing "from the grave" at a fellow MP as she spoke in the Commons.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen was branded “disgraceful” after bellowing during a House of Commons tribute to the late Paddy Ashdown. 

The Brexiteer faced chants of “shame” and “vile” after he heckled Lib Dem MP Layla Moran as she told MPs Lord Ashdown had been “very concerned” about Brexit in his “final weeks”. 

Bridgen, who shouted “from the grave” during Moran’s address, later apologised “if any offence was caused”, after Speaker John Bercow raised the “unfortunate” comments during Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions session. 

Lord Ashdown, 77, a former Lib Dem leader and ex-Royal Marines captain, died from cancer on December 22 and was respected by MPs from across the political spectrum.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, left, and the late Lord Ashdown 

Following tributes from Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and fellow Lib Dem Ed Davey, Moran told the Commons: “I would also like to add my own sadness at the passing of Paddy. And in his final weeks, he was very concerned at how Brexit would play into Britain’s place in the world.” 

It was after this line that Bridgen can be heard to bellow “from the grave” from the Tory benches. 

Opposition MPs shouted back at the Conservative but Moran nonetheless finished her question on May’s refusal to hold a second Brexit referendum.

It was not until after PMQs had concluded that she was able to raise the matter with the speaker. 

She said: “As you were aware, when I was expressing my deep sadness at the loss of Lord Ashdown and his concern for the state of where we are now. 

″The member [Bridgen] shouted loudly from a sedentary position ‘from the grave’. 

“I find such a comment disgraceful and I would like to ask guidance from you, Mr Speaker, on how for example he might want to retract such a statement and if this sort of conduct is becoming of members of this House.” 

Layla Moran in the Commons

Bercow replied that he “did hear those words” but wasn’t aware they came from Bridgen. 

He said: “I think it was most unfortunate that was said.

“The honorable lady was perfectly properly paying tribute to an extremely distinguished former member of this House and someone that many would regard as an international statesperson.” 

He added if “the person” who said the phrased wanted to say sorry “it was open” to them. 

Bridgen then got to his feet to say: “Mr Speaker, I will apologise for my remarks if any offence was caused to any members of the House.” 

A number of politicos took to Twitter to condemn Bridgen for a “non-apology apology”.