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.


Missile attack on Yemen MP home kills two including child

Updated 17 min 59 sec ago

Missile attack on Yemen MP home kills two including child

  • The MPs daughter-in-law and granddaughter were killed
  • Griffiths condemned the attack and called for a halt to the recent military escalation

DUBAI: A rebel missile attack on the home of a Yemeni lawmaker killed two of his relatives, authorities said Thursday, drawing condemnation from the UN after a recent strike in the area left 116 dead.
Yemen’s internationally recognized government — backed by an Arab coalition — has been battling the Iran-allied rebels since 2014, when they overran the capital Sanaa.
The attack on Wednesday night targeted the home of parliamentarian Mossad Hussein Al-Sawadi in Marib province, east of the capital, killing his daughter-in-law and 16-year-old granddaughter, according to the official Saba news agency.
“Sawadi was seriously injured along with three other members (of his family),” said Hussein Al-Huleissi, director of the criminal investigation department in Marib.
“The strike destroyed the home completely and caused panic in the residential neighborhood.”
United Nations envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths condemned the attack and called for a halt to the recent military escalation in Yemen, which comes after several months of relative peace.
“Targeting MPs and civilian areas is unacceptable and against international law,” he said in a tweet.
The attack came after a missile strike blamed on the Iran-backed Houthi militia killed 116 people including civilians at a mosque in a military camp in Marib on Saturday.
On Thursday, authorities in Marib said they dismantled two Houthi-linked “cells” that took part in planning the strike.
The attack on the mosque, one of the bloodiest single incidents since the war erupted, came a day after coalition-backed government forces launched a large-scale operation against the Houthis in the Nihm region, north of Sanaa.
Army spokesman Abdullah Al-Shandaki told AFP on Tuesday that 72 Houthis had been killed in the fighting.
Saba said the fighting had continued into Thursday, and medical sources reported dozens of dead and wounded on both sides.
Meanwhile, heavy fighting between coalition-backed government troops and the Houthis broke out in the northern province of Jawf on Thursday.
Since 2015, tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.