THE House of Commons erupted into chaos on Wednesday afternoon as Lindsay Hoyle announced rules would be changed for the first time - ultimately saving Labour from a rebellion threat. 

The Speaker selected both UK Government and Labour amendments as MPs were set to debate the SNP's ceasefire motion. 

It is the first time in at least 25 years that this has occurred on an Opposition Day, the clerk of the House has confirmed - calling it a "departure from long-established convention". 

Ordinarily, a second opposition party's amendment to another's motion would not be debated. But Hoyle decided to allow Labour's amendment to an SNP motion.

Hoyle explained that Labour's amendment would be voted on first, followed by the SNP's original motion, then the Government's amendment if the original text was not agreed to. 

He said: "Because the operation of standing order 31 will prevent another amendment from being moved after the Government has moved its amendment, I will exceptionally call the opposition frontbench spokesperson to move their amendment at the beginning of the debate once the SNP spokesperson has moved their motion. 

"At the end of the debate the House will have an opportunity to take a decision on the official opposition amendment. If that is agreed to there is a final question on the main motion is amended. 

"If the official opposition amendment is not agreed to, I will call the minister to move the Government amendment formally.

READ MORE: Speaker warned about rule change for Gaza motion – read letter in full

After calling for order from MPs, he added: “That will engage the provisions of standing order number 31. So the next vote will be on the original words in the SNP motion. If that is not agreed to, then the House will have the opportunity to vote on the Government amendment.

“Proceeding this way will allow a vote to take place potentially on all proposals from each of the three main parties.”

There were cries of “shameful” and “bring back Bercow” in the Commons as Hoyle set out his reasoning.

A Tory MP could be heard to mutter that the Commons Speaker (below) was “moving the goalposts” as he first confirmed his plans.

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Hoyle  later attempted to tell MPs that he would be asking for a review into how the process for amending Opposition Day motions in future as it currently “reflects an outdated approach,” and was met with laughter alongside cries of “Shame on you!” from the SNP front bench.

Conservative former minister Sir Desmond Swayne meanwhile shouted “Bring back Bercow!” and Tory party chairman Richard Holden could be seen shouting “shameful!”

In response, the SNP’s chief whip Owen Thompson said: “I appreciate what you’ve outlined here but I seek your advice because obviously I’ve taken advice from the clerks.

“This is the SNP’s Opposition Day and the purpose of an Opposition Day is for our party to have the ability to put forward our business.

“We’ve already had a significant delay to the start of this motion which has significant interest to the extent we dropped our second motion and now we completely appear to be doing things in a way that’s never been done before.

“Can I ask for your advice Mr Speaker and what is the point of an Opposition Day if it’s going to be done like this.”

The remarks were met with applause from the SNP benches and Hoyle refused to take any more points of orders.

Speaker faces backlash

Hoyle’s decision has been met with significant backlash from both Tory and SNP MPs.

Writing on Twitter/X, Pete Wishart said: “He (Hoyle) has changed Commons precedent to save Labour an embarrassing rebellion.”

Elsewhere, SNP MP for Glasgow South Stewart McDonald commented: “Labour’s disgraceful position was authored by itself.

“They didn’t need our help. They’ve now pressured the Speaker into tearing up the rule book and called in a nakedly political favour. The real concern over optics, and the subsequent games, were all of Labour’s making.”

Elsewhere, National columnist Owen Jones described the situation as an "absolute farce" in a post on Twitter/X. 

"Given it blatantly breaks with precedent, many believe that former Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle has buckled to Labour pressure given a Labour government is now inevitable," he said. 

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Meanwhile, the SNP's depute leader Keith Brown said: "The decision today to undermine Scotland's voice on a matter as grave as Gaza requires analysis of whether and how people in Scotland can expect any level of democratic input to a HoC where 'democratic principles' are decaying at a faster rate than the building itself."

Tory MPs have also expressed fury with Robert Goodwill telling GB News: "It sets a new precedent and it will be interesting to see if, next time we have a Labour Opposition Day, if the SNP puts down an amendment, whether they'll be suggesting that their amendment should be called as well. 

"It does have echoes of the time when John Bercow was the Speaker and was sort of making it up as he goes along."

A backbench Labour MP, meanwhile, has claimed his name was added to Labour’s amendment to the Gaza ceasefire motion “without my consent”.

Ian Lavery, who is the MP for Wansbeck and regarded as being on the left of the party, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “I have been informed that my name has been published supporting Labour’s amendment to today’s motion on a ceasefire in Gaza.

“I want to clarify that this has been done without my consent and that I have contacted the relevant offices to explore how this has occurred.”