Newport West MP Paul Flynn walks out of committee amid claims he was silenced
Updated 4:47pm Thursday 8th May 2014 in News
Newport West MP Paul Flynn just before he walked out in protest from the House of Commons Public Administration Committee today. He claimed he was being 'silenced' by chairman Bernard Jenkin. (5980451)
A GWENT MP walked out of a House of Commons committee today after he accused its chairman of trying to silence him.
Labour Newport West MP Paul Flynn left the Public Administration Committee after accusing the Tory chairman of the committee Bernard Jenkin of a stunt to embarrass the Scottish Parliament and the idea of devolution.
The incident started during a hearing of the committee after Mr Jenkins asked Vale of Glamorgan Tory MP Alun Cairns to ask a question of Sir Bob Kerslake, head of the civil service, during an inquiry into civil service impartiality and referendums.
Mr Flynn, who had been putting his own questions, interrupted: “I’d only just started."
“You've had quite a long run,” Mr Jenkin replied.
“So have you chairman - a very long run, and a rather tedious one from where I'm sitting,” Mr Flynn said.
Mr Jenkin continued to ask Mr Cairns to ask his question, but Mr Flynn kept intervening, telling the committee he was “going to protest."
Then he added: “Well, I'll have to leave the committee because you're using this committee as a stunt to try to embarrass the Scottish Parliament and the idea of devolution. This is not a serious attempt at using the select committee in a way... And the way that you silence me again is proof of that.
"You should conduct this as a select committee seeking further evidence.”
He then gathered his things and left the room, out of camera shot.
The Newport West MP’s decision to walk out was jumped on by the Scottish National Party, which is leading the Yes campaign for September’s referendum on whether Scotland should be independent.
Mike Weir, SNP MP, said: "This is an unprecedented intervention in the referendum debate from Paul Flynn, and is deeply damaging to the anti-independence campaign.
“For a senior Labour MP to walk out of a supposedly impartial committee inquiry on the referendum – claiming that it is a ‘stunt’ designed simply to embarrass the Scottish Parliament – undermines absolutely everything that Westminster committees are claiming about independence.”
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