Investigation launched into claims senior Tories bullied MPs during Commons vote

Parliamentary bodies have launched an investigation into allegations that ministers bullied and “bullied” their Conservative colleagues into voting for the party during a Commons vote on fracking.

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle asked the sergeant-at-arms, who is responsible for maintaining order in the House of Commons, and other senior officials to look into the claims.

Health Secretary Therese Coffey and Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg are among a group of senior Tories accused of pushing the party’s MPs to vote against Labour’s fracking move.

Rees-Mogg insisted he had seen no evidence that anyone had been abused and that it was just a “normal” discussion between MPs as they prepared to vote, while Coffey also denied the claim.

Hoyle, opening the chamber this morning, told MPs: “I want to say something about reports of behavior in the halls of the division last night.

“I have asked the sergeant-at-arms and other senior officials to investigate the incident and report back to me. I will then update the house.

“I remind members that the code of conduct applies to them as well as to other members of our parliamentary community, and this gives me another opportunity to talk about what kind of chamber I want to see, and I believe the vast majority of MPs also want to see .

“I want this to be a House where, although we may have very strong political differences, we treat each other with courtesy and respect, and we should show the same courtesy and respect to those who work with us and for us.

“To that end, I will be meeting with senior party officials to develop an agreed position that behavior such as that described last night is unacceptable under any circumstances.”

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