Things got very British in London on Monday, as during the debate over the debate about Brexit, a member of Parliament swiped the mace from floor of Parliament, setting off a tizzy in Westminster. Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, in a symbolic gesture, walked to the center of the chamber and took the five-foot silver and gold staff that is brought to the floor each day by the sergeant-at-arms and represents the monarch’s authority, and technically must be present for the House of Commons to meet and pass laws. (The U.S. House of Representatives uses one, too.)
Russell-Moyle backpedaled to the center of the room and was jeered by opposing party Tory MPs as he headed for the exit. “Put it back!”; “expel him!”; “name him!”, they shouted with British accents. Russell-Moyle was quickly intercepted by two parliamentary staffers, who returned the mace to its resting place on the chamber floor. Russell-Moyle was then expelled from the session by Commons Speaker John Bercow and could face further sanction. After the rare lack of extreme decorum, shouting and heckling are commonplace, the Labour MP exited the chamber and, in classic British style, headed straight for the pub!
“The symbolic gesture of lifting the mace and removing it is that the will of Parliament to govern is no longer there has been removed,” Russell-Moyle said from the Red Lion pub just up the road from Parliament. “I felt Parliament had effectively given up its sovereign right to govern properly. They stopped me before I got out of the Chamber and I wasn’t going to struggle with someone wearing a huge sword on their hip.”