As the Brexit vote further deferred and the debate in the British Parliament continues, the drama heightened as a Labour MP picked up the ceremonial mace in protest. The sudden action by Lloyd Russell-Moyle created a huge storm in the House of Common and also on social media when the video went viral.
According to The Guardian, “As the government formally declared it would not continue with the debate on the withdrawal agreement, Lloyd Russell-Moyle marched forward to grab the mace in protest and held it up in the centre of the chamber to widespread outrage from the Tory benches.”
The MP was subsequently suspended for the rest of the sitting as other MPs shouted “disgrace” and “expel him” as he lifted the Queen’s authority in parliament, without which the parliament cannot meet or pass laws. The golden mace is the symbol of the authority and during sittings is placed on the table next to the despatch box in front of the Speaker.
However, his sudden reaction seemed quite baffling and unconvincing as when he was stopped by two female Serjeant at Arms staff, he put up no resistance and handed over the royal symbol.
— Daniel Kraemer (@dcakraemer) December 10, 2018
The official feed of parliamentary proceedings, broadcast on BBC Parliament, did not show the mace being seized in common with a policy on not showing protests, added the Guardian report. However, a BBC journalist shared it on Twitter and footage quickly created a huge chatter online.
“I’m leaving and I’m taking this golden staff thing with a crown on it.”
“You most certainely are not, Sir.”
— Teresa Delgado (@Delgado__Teresa) December 11, 2018
When you’re sick of brexit and try to start recess early (submission) https://t.co/7WTqyd02f4
— MP’s Assistant (@MPsassistant) December 11, 2018
But in reality he put back a replica while Ocean’s 11 stole the real one and switched it in plain sight or something https://t.co/0V0WE4i0nC
— Dan Berman (@DHBerman) December 11, 2018
Slightly hoped he was going to hold it aloft and scream “By the power of Greyskull!” https://t.co/NTDp1k5heI
— Chris Warr (@ChrisWarr) December 11, 2018
The best part is the calm “Put it back. No, no.” https://t.co/FKqOcKiagq
— Khalil Manns (@khalilmanns) December 11, 2018
If you press the mace to the Speaker’s forehead for 5 seconds it restores Parliament to factory settings.
— . (@twlldun) December 11, 2018
— James Geddes (@jamestwgeddes) December 11, 2018
OMG! He just took that useless stick! Britain is changing in worrying speed. What’s next? Will a PM skip a queue or miss the High Tea?
The end is near… https://t.co/OyMvm52Xr5
— Sascha Düerkop (@CONIFAGenSec) December 11, 2018
Also hail the hero of parliament, savior of the mace. pic.twitter.com/tNaYPBtwrc
— Jocelyn (@JocAllen) December 10, 2018
the parliament mace thing shows why a British person could never invent a character like The Joker. the most insane thing to them is like, drinking the wrong tea during a ceremony honoring a tax accessor from 1610
— soon theyll be calling me “MR BRIGHTSIDE” (@ByYourLogic) December 10, 2018
Lloyd Russell-Moyle after grabbing the mace pic.twitter.com/e6rQX3WHWO
— Elsie Greenwood (@elsieortong) December 10, 2018
Trump is going to throw a temper tantrum over not having a mace
— Roland Scahill (@rolandscahill) December 10, 2018
Parliament can’t pass laws without the mace present. Given we no longer have an actual government it might as well not be there. https://t.co/TCMjTQiyOn
— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) December 10, 2018
i haven’t seen a mace this misused since the star wars prequels
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) December 10, 2018
Britain to the world:
We are a noble, respected and extremely advanced democracy
Oh it’s all kicking off now, they’ve grabbed the big mace!pic.twitter.com/yPoFOcvoyx
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) December 10, 2018
The MP grabbing and walking with the ceremonial mace is outrageous to the British because the mace represents Parliament’s royally derived authority, so it’s a gesture of contempt to the most fundamental principle of the body, like disagreeing with a white guy in Congress.
— ThankYouForNotSmockingHat (@Popehat) December 10, 2018
After the incident, the MP took to Twitter and said, “I’m allowed back tomorrow after my symbolic protest against this government, wish May wasn’t allowed back.”
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. I’m allowed back tomorrow after my symbolic protest against this government, wish May wasn’t allowed back. https://t.co/S51q5O9QEt
— Lloyd Russell-Moyle (@lloyd_rm) December 10, 2018
However, not the first time mace was used for protesting inside the parliament. In 2009, Opposition Labour MP John McDonnell took it and dropped it on an empty bench in the House for his displeasures surrounding the expansion of Heathrow Airport.