You think British MPs are unruly? You should come see ours, Lebanese delegation tells Mr. Bercow

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow may have underestimated the chaos that can consume the Lebanese parliament. (Reuters)
Updated 05 September 2019

You think British MPs are unruly? You should come see ours, Lebanese delegation tells Mr. Bercow

  • John Bercow tells squabbling House of Commons they set a bad example to visiting delegation of Lebanese politicians
  • Lebanese commentators say Lebanon's parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri often uses ceremonial hammer to break up actual fights

BEIRUT: House of Commons Speaker John Bercow provoked widespread mirth in Lebanon on Wednesday when he told unruly British MPs they were setting a bad example to a visiting delegation of Lebanese politicians.

“I’m not sure at the moment how impressed they’ll be,” said Bercow, pointing to the visitors’ gallery as MPs in the Commons chamber argued and shouted at each other in a heated debate over Brexit.

In fact, the visitors probably thought it was a relatively uneventful session, Lebanese commentators said, pointing out that Lebanon's parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri often used his ceremonial hammer to break up actual fights.

“Bercow does not know what happens in the Lebanese Parliament,” writer Hassan Daoud said. “They are not exactly a role model.”

Actor and playwright Zaki Mahfoud said: “No matter how loudly the British MPs argue with each other, none of them will challenge another by saying ‘My father is stronger than your father.’

“They won’t show off about the number of votes they got, or boast that their weapons brought the president to office, as Lebanese MPs do.”

Mona Sukkarayah, a Lebanese journalist, said: “If Bercow had been following what was happening in the Lebanese parliament, he would have heard the screams and insults exchanged by MPs.”

One of the Lebanese MPs visiting Westminster, Yassin Jaber, also appeared to find the Commons uproar unsurprising. The visit took place “at a sensitive political moment in the history of the UK,” he said.


Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

Updated 12 August 2020

Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

  • The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention

CAIRO: The fate of at least 35 Egyptian fishermen hangs in the balance after they were arrested by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) on Nov. 2 last year.  

The families of the fishermen have appealed to the Egyptian government to step up their efforts to secure their freedom as Cairo has been working on their release since November.

Little is known about the fate of the fishermen in Libya other than their location, after it was leaked to Egyptian authorities that they were held in the Turmina Prison, which is affiliated with the GNA.

The head of the Fishermen’s Syndicate in Kafr El-Sheikh, Ahmed Nassar, said they had not been able to communicate with the fishermen since last November and after their disappearance they came to learn that the GNA authorities had detained them.

The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention. Nassar said that the fishermen were not fishing in Libyan territory without a permit.

Nassar explained that the fishermen were working on Libyan boats. Alongside them were a number of colleagues working on boats that belong to the Al-Wefaq government. They were not approached by anyone unlike their detained colleagues who were arrested and sent to prison without being charged with any crime.

The Fishermen’s Syndicate chief said that people had called on the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the government, and the consular section had also been contacted about the matter.

Many of the detained fishermen come from Kafr El-Sheikh, while others come from Abu Qir in the governorate of Alexandria.

The fishermen had been supporting families of up to eight members.

Egyptian authorities say they are exerting great efforts to bring the fishermen back safely, while the fishermen’s families continue to demand safety and justice for the men.