Furious at the Government for leaking finance policies to the press before formally announcing them in Parliament, he accused ministers of trying to “run roughshod over this House”. He granted backbench MPs a series of urgent questions in the Commons to punish the Government for its actions.
In a statement to MPs, Sir Lindsay said: “At one time ministers did the right thing if they briefed before a Budget – they walked.”
Some MPs shouted “resign” as the visibly irritated Speaker reprimanded the Treasury.
In response to the heckles, he added: “Yes absolutely, resign.
“It seems to me we’ve got ourselves in a position that if you’ve not got it out five days before it’s not worth putting out.”
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“I’ve got to say, members are elected to this House to represent their constituents, those constituents quite rightly expect the MP to hear it first in order to be able to listen to what the Budget is about, but also for the days following that to be able to hold them to account.
“It’s not acceptable and the Government shouldn’t try to run roughshod over this House, it will not happen.”
In 1947, Labour chancellor Hugh Dalton was forced to resign after leaking key parts of his statement to a reporter.
Leaks over the past three days have included an announcement the National Living Wage will increase from £8.91 an hour to £9.50, an additional £6billion to help the NHS clear the backlog caused by the pandemic, and a further £2.6billion to help children with special educational needs.
The Speaker has clashed with Boris Johnson and his ministers on multiple occasions over the past two years for failure to follow Commons etiquette.
He has criticised the Government in the past for announcing Covid plans in live televised briefings from Downing Street before informing MPs.
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On previous occasions, he warned he would take action if ministers held the House “with contempt”.
Living up to his word, today ministers were forced to attend the Commons to answer four different urgent questions granted by the Speaker with the aim of being a nuisance for the Government.
Answering a question on the NHS, Health minister Edward Argar said he was sure Sir Lindsay’s message “has been heard loud and clear both in the Department of Health and across Government including in the Treasury”.
Downing Street defended the Chancellor’s handling of pre-Budget announcements.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We recognise the importance of keeping Parliament and the public informed when decisions are taken, as the Government has endeavoured to do throughout the pandemic.
“We will always seek to ensure arrangements are made so Parliament is informed and that we reach the public at the same time.
“Obviously the Chancellor will make his full Budget statement to the House as expected on Wednesday.”
Sir Lindsay said this evening: “Hopefully a lesson may have been learnt. If not, we’ll continue with the same lessons.”
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