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A British lawmaker was thrown out of parliament Monday after seizing the ceremonial mace in apparent protest of Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to delay a vote on the United Kingdom’s European Union withdrawal deal.
Politicians were set to vote on the so-called Brexit deal on Tuesday but, with news that May fears her proposal lacks support, lawmakers were informed that the debate and vote would be postponed by a parliamentary procedure that would not require their consent.
All this procedure requires is that the chief whip, a kind of government administrator, shout the word “tomorrow” very loudly.
When he did this, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, a member of the opposition Labour party, rushed forward to lift the ceremonial mace in symbolic protest of the postponement. The ornate staff is supposed to represent the royal authority of Parliament, and without it, members of the House of Commons are not allowed to debate or vote.
Surreal footage of a crowded House shows Russell-Moyle walking around with the enormous medieval weapon.
Here's the moment Brighton Kemptown Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle is ejected from the House of Commons after picking up the ceremonial mace in protest at the Government's handling of Brexit. pic.twitter.com/lPVAy6dQ9F— BBC Sussex (@BBCSussex) December 10, 2018
The politician was immediately rebuked for the action by other parliamentary members and ejected from the House by Speaker John Bercow, who presides over debates and maintains order.
Twitter users, however, quite enjoyed the spectacle, hailing Russell-Moyle as an “absolute madman” and a “proper legend.”
I have taken— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) December 10, 2018
that was on
a breach of decorum
it was a political prop
and so meaningless
How Lloyd Russell-Moyle sees himself vs how everyone else sees him pic.twitter.com/PapCXw7FKk— Mo' (@mocent0) December 10, 2018
Me: Britain CANNOT get any more embarrassing.— Ned Hartley (@NedHartley) December 10, 2018
Lloyd Russell-Moyle: Hold my mace.
After all the drama, Russell-Moyle took to Twitter to explain that he was safe.
“Thankfully they haven’t locked me in the Tower of London but if they had I’d expect May to be in the cell next to me for her treatment of Parliament today,” he wrote. “I’m allowed back tomorrow after my symbolic protest against this government, wish May wasn’t allowed back.”
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology.