LABOUR have denied trying to intimidate the Speaker over the Gaza ceasefire vote – despite reports claiming Keir Starmer fixed a private meeting to persuade him to bend the rules.

Lisa Nandy, shadow international development secretary, denied reports Labour threatened Lindsay Hoyle that he would lose his position as Speaker if he did not change Commons procedures to allow the party to vote on its ceasefire amendment during the SNP’s opposition day debate.

The National:

Asked whether anyone from the party had pressurised the speaker with his job unless he did what Labour wanted, Nandy (above) said: “Frankly, the idea that you would threaten the Speaker of the House of Commons is for the birds. I’ve served on three different speakers over 14 years and I can tell you that that is not how it works.

READ MORE: Keir Starmer reported to Privileges Committee over ‘intimidation’ allegations

“The Speaker is in charge, is the guardian of our processes and procedures, and makes the decisions.

“The idea that any political leader or any politician of any party could threaten the House of Commons Speaker and get away with it is just absolute and utter nonsense.”

More than 70 MPs signed a motion expressing no confidence in Hoyle after Wednesday’s SNP opposition day vote descended into chaos.

Some signatories believe he bent the rules to allow Starmer to avoid a potentially embarrassing rebellion if large numbers of his MPs backed the SNP’s motion, which explicitly accused Israel of the “collective punishment” of Palestinians.

His critics on the right believe he allowed extra-parliamentary pressure from pro-Palestine protesters to alter Commons business, which they say sets a dangerous precedent.

The National: Lindsay Hoyle

Nandy defended Hoyle (above), calling him “our Speaker”, and claimed he had merely been trying to “put the widest range of options before the house and ensure that the House could come to one view”.

READ MORE: Commons chaos over SNP Gaza ceasefire motion shows ‘archaic’ ways of Westminster

Asked if she could guarantee if Hoyle would be reappointed as the Speaker if Labour won the next General Election, Nandy said: “No, of course I can’t, because it’s not in the gift of a political party.

“For what it’s worth, I think that he did the right thing on Wednesday in seeking to ensure we had the widest range of voices, and I think his conduct afterwards in coming to the House in expressing his deep regret and sorrow that that hadn’t been able to happen was absolutely the right thing to do.

“I think we now need to take a long, hard look at the processes that we’ve got in Parliament to make sure we don’t have a repeat of this.”

The Speaker met with Starmer before he announced that Labour’s amendment would be called.

Labour MPs stalled for time during this meeting, calling points of order – widely seen as spurious – and one MP forced a time-consuming vote to delay the debate on the SNP’s amendment.

Hoyle kicked out his clerks so he could speak with Starmer privately, according to The Sunday Times.

The paper reported that Hoyle rejected approaches from other MPs seeking to speak with him, including left-wing Labour MP Zarah Sultana.

Labour MPs were also said to have been heard talking loudly of how “Keir is going to fix the Speaker”.

Both Starmer and Hoyle have denied reports that the Speaker was lent on to benefit Labour, but Alba MP Neale Hanvey has reported the former to the Privileges Committee to investigate claims of intimidation.