Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has said the UK is still “struggling to recover” from two years of political chaos under the Conservatives.
Hoyle said he agreed that the turmoil of the last year — in which Liz Truss only lasted 44 days as prime minister after replacing Boris Johnson — had made the country an “international laughingstock”.
The Speaker told BBC Radio 4 that there was a “lot of disappointment” over the events of the past year and that people were asking “what was happening to our democracy?”
“I think we’re still struggling to recover,” he went on.
″[Brexit] divided families, and there was real division there, and we’ve been trying to heal that. Get people to respect democracy, let’s treat each other, not just with tolerance but with respect, I think that’s what really matters to me.”
Hoyle said that while he wanted people to have different views, he hoped they would “show better respect, better tolerance, making sure that if we treat each other with respect, we can then expect the public to treat us alike”.
“If you go in and bawl and shout at each other, don’t be shocked when the public might want to do the same to you.”
Hoyle, who has served as Speaker since 2019 and has been the MP for Chorley since 1997, also spoke about the toxic working culture in Westminster, where a number of MPs have faced allegations of sexual misconduct.
Earlier this month a by-election was held in the city of Chester following the resignation of Chris Matheson as a Labour MP.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards upheld two allegations of sexual misconduct against Matheson by a former member of his staff.
Matheson is alleged to have invited the former staff member on a private trip abroad. The report by parliament’s complaints watchdog found that the invitation was “sexually motivated” and “unwanted”.
Meanwhile, MPs Julian Knight and Conor McGinn had the Tory and Labour whips removed respectively following allegations of misconduct. Both have rejected wrongdoing. They now sit among the 15 independent MPs in parliament.
Despite the number of allegations, Hoyle said he believed parliament was still a safe working environment for young male and female staffers, but added: “If not, we will hound out and make sure that those people who are not playing are abiding by the rules.
“We’ve lots of young people with 3,000 employees within the House of Commons that come in, you know, there’s staff of MPs as well, I want to make sure that they feel supported.”
He added: “I always say to passholders of the House — my door’s open. If you’ve got issues, you’ve got problems come and see me. Let’s see we can help you.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Hoyle said he did not believe in reforming the House of Lords into a second elected chamber as has been recommended by former prime minister Gordon Brown.
“I don’t believe in a second chamber that’s elected because as you say, it’s about supremacy,” he said.
“We are the senior house. And if you have an elected chamber somewhere else who has supremacy?
“Reform the House of Lords by all means, but not through a second elected chamber.”