New MP cut off in debut speech at Westminster

Hannah Bardell makes her maiden speech in the House of Commons. Picture: Parliamentlive.tv
Hannah Bardell makes her maiden speech in the House of Commons. Picture: Parliamentlive.tv
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SHE only had another 17 words to go, but new Livingston MP Hannah Bardell was abruptly cut off as she neared the conclusion of her maiden speech in the House of Commons.

The SNP frontbencher was going to round off her Westminster debut with a quote from suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst – “We are here, not because we are lawbreakers; we are here in our efforts to become lawmakers.”

But just as she said “and I would like to finish with a quote I feel I will heed as . . .” when deputy speaker Lindsay Hoyle intervened.

He told her: “We will save that quote for next time, we are well over, I have been very lenient” before calling on another new MP to make her debut.

Mr Hoyle had earlier set a nine-minute limit for speeches, but a close look at Hansard, the official record of Commons debates, shows Ms Bardell started her speech at 8.08pm and she was stopped at 8.17pm, suggesting she was keeping pretty well to time.

She was philosophical, however. “It was unfortunate,” she said. “That’s the way the House goes. He’s got a job to do and I respect that. I will try to work the quote into another speech.

“It was a great day and I 
enjoyed doing it.”

She noted during her speech that her great grandmother had marched with the suffragettes. And in her build-up to the quote from Ms Pankhurst, Ms Bardell recalled how she had had to repeat her oath because she accidentally missed out the word “Queen”.

Earlier, Ms Bardell went out of her way to mention tragic Mid Calder teenager Jak Trueman, who died in February from a rare form of blood cancer, and Michelle Henderson, daughter of ex-Rangers star Willie Henderson, from Broxburn, who died from cervical cancer on her 28th birthday in 2010.

She told the Commons: “Two of many local charities in my constituency have been set up by families who lost their children way too early to cancer. Jak Trueman and Michelle Henderson both died tragically young, but their memories live on in the tremendous work their families are doing to raise awareness and funds.”

Jak, 15, dedicated the last weeks of his life to raising more than £50,000 for leukaemia and lymphoma research and his family has set up a charity in his name. Last week, Jak was named winner of the Evening News Local Hero Award.

Before she died, Ms Henderson set up a trust to spread awareness of cervical cancer and raise funds for hospital equipment and support work for those with the illness.

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com

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