THERE are persistent rumours that Keir Starmer threatened to have Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle replaced following the next General Election should he not accede to the Labour leader's demand that he trash convention and agree to allowing Labour's amendment to the SNP motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Starmer strongly denies this, saying only that he "urged" the Speaker to do his bidding – and in so doing get Starmer out of a political difficulty of his own creation.

The Labour leader was facing an embarrassing rebellion among his own MPs who are unhappy about his refusal to acknowledge that the Israeli armed forces are engaged in widespread war crimes against the civilian population of Gaza. Many Labour MPs – though probably not the supine Michael Shanks or the über-Unionist Ian Murray – were poised to vote in favour of the SNP resolution.

Hoyle's (below) decision was highly convenient for the control freak of a Labour leader, desperate to clamp down on open expressions of dissent within his party ranks as he takes them further to the right than even the architects of Tony Blair's New Labour could have dared.

The National: Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA)

Hoyle's convention-busting decision meant that the SNP motion was not voted on, while Labour's amended motion was passed without debate or a formal vote.

Now, Starmer has been reported to the Privileges Committee over allegations that he intimidated Hoyle. Alba party MP Neale Hanvey has reported the Labour leader to the committee saying that it was "essential to establish if Starmer coerced the Speaker".

Wednesday's outrageous scenes – which brought the dysfunctional cesspit of the Westminster Parliament into even greater disrepute than that in which it has been mired for many years now – have led to calls for Hoyle's resignation, with SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn saying that Hoyle now longer has the confidence of his party in the Commons.

The incident is yet another example of how the UK's famously uncodified constitution is woefully unfit for purpose. Relying as it does on convention, precedent, and "gentlemen's agreements", the British constitution is wide open to abuse by unscrupulous politicians who are willing to rewrite the rules to suit themselves.

Boris Johnson did exactly that when he prorogued Parliament in 2019 in order to avoid parliamentary scrutiny of his Brexit deal. Keir Starmer displayed equal contempt for parliamentary process.

READ MORE: The Worst of Westminster: This week, it really was

In doing so, Starmer has proven that he does not represent any meaningful change from the Tories. Starmer represents the same self-serving, scrutiny-avoiding, and authoritarian style of British nationalist rule that the Tories do.

More than 70 MPs, mostly SNP and Tory, have now signed a motion of no confidence in Hoyle, who continues to give every indication that he is determined to cling on to his position.

Hoyle and Starmer are now seeking to shift the narrative, claiming it was always really about the safety of MPs – and not about saving Starmer's political neck from a problem he had brought upon himself.

That is grossly insulting to the hundreds of thousands of people who have peacefully protested against Israel's actions in Gaza, and to Palestinians in the UK, implying as it does that they are terrorists or terrorist sympathisers.

It's very strange that Starmer only became so interested in the safety of MPs when he could use it as cover for an action that was very much to his own benefit. Perhaps the most egregiously insulting thing about all of this is that Starmer thinks we are all idiots.

All this came about because he could not countenance two words: "collective punishment". They were used in the SNP motion to describe Israel's actions against the civilian population of Gaza.

However, just four days previously, at the conference of the self-described "Scottish Labour" party, delegates overwhelmingly voted in favour of a motion which said they agreed “that there is no justification for the collective punishment of 2.2 million citizens of Gaza”.

Wednesday's disgraceful scenes demonstrate exactly how much influence the Labour party in Scotland has on Starmer's decision making: the square root of hee-haw. That's what Anas Sarwar "standing up to Starmer" amounts to in practice, hot air that gets him a few sound bites on BBC Scotland and which achieves precisely nothing.

The Tories are at it as well

The National: Former prime minister Liz Truss told a right-wing conference in America that the world ‘needs a

Lettuce woman Liz Truss remains unrepentant about her disastrous, and thankfully short-lived, period of time as prime minister. First, she blamed her downfall on those well-known socialists in the Bank of England and amongst international currency traders. Now, she is appearing before a far-right American conservative conference where she's doubling down on her insistence that she was brought down by a leftist cabal, and not by her own incompetence and financial lunacy.

Truss's "blame it all on the lefties" speech was well received by a far-right American audience which makes no secret of its open espousal of reactionary god-bothering intolerance and overt fascism.

One delegate called for gay marriage to be outlawed, likening a marriage between two people of the same sex to bestiality to the rapturous applause of the crowd.

Another, Make America Great Again influencer Jack Posobiec, chillingly told attendees: "Welcome to the end of democracy. We're here to overthrow it completely. We didn't get all the way there on January 6th, but we will endeavour to get rid of it and replace it with this right here … Because all glory is to God."

We would all do well to remember that Truss remains very influential amongst sections of the Conservative party and Christian nationalist fascists like Posobiec are their friends.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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