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.
#VIDEO: The UK's House of Commons Speaker #JohnBercow 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 https://t.co/IfsDO6XrO2 pic.twitter.com/Q2t8kKuIKY
— Arab News (@arabnews) September 4, 2019
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.