THE SNP have walked out of the House of Commons in fury after the decision made by Speaker Lindsay Hoyle to allow a debate on a Labour amendment to an SNP motion saw Westminster descend into chaos.

Effectively, it meant that SNP MPs couldn't vote on their own motion. Instead, Labour's amendment was passed without opposition because deputy speaker Rosie Winterton declared "the ayes have it" without votes begin cast. Winterton's decision was criticised by both SNP and Tory MPs.

Shortly before the walk-out, the SNP's Brendan O'Hara said the Commons had "descended into absolute chaos because of the decision of the Speaker earlier today" and demanded Hoyle return to the Chamber.

Ordinarily, an opposition party like Labour would not be allowed to table an amendment to another opposition party’s motion put forward on an opposition day, like the SNP’s had been.

But Hoyle announced rules would be changed on Wednesday afternoon, ultimately saving Labour from a rebellion threat. 

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The Speaker selected both UK Government and Labour amendments, the first time in at least 25 years that this has occurred on an Opposition Day, the clerk of the House confirmed - calling it a "departure from long-established convention". 

Before the walk-out, Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s Westminster leader, angrily asked on three occasions where Hoyle was, as he called for the Speaker to return to the Commons.

On the third occasion, Flynn told the Commons: “I am afraid that I am going to have to try for a third time. Can you please advise me where the Speaker of the House of Commons is?

“What mechanisms are available to bring him to the House? And as we wait for a deliberation to be made in that regard, I move that this House … that you use the powers that I trust you have to suspend this House.”

Deputy speaker Rosie Winterton replied: “I will not be suspending the House. We need to put these questions. Mr Speaker will be in his place tomorrow.”

But Flynn was followed by similar calls from Conservative MP Matthew Offord (Hendon), who asked: “Madame Deputy Speaker, where is the Speaker?”

A vote on whether parliament should sit in private failed, before Hoyle ultimately did return to the chamber to give an explanation for his actions.

He insisted his decision had been taken with “the right intentions” as he responded to criticism in a special statement from Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt.

Hoyle said: “Today’s debate was exceptional in its intensity with which all parties wished to secure a vote.”

He said the decision taken was intended to allow the House “the widest range of propositions on which to express a view”, adding: “I wanted to do the best, and it was my wish … to do the best by every member of this House.”

He went on: “The danger is … because I am very, very concerned about the security of all members … I was very concerned, I am still concerned, and that’s why the meetings I have had today is about the security of members, their families and the people that are involved.

“And I’ve got to say, I regret how it’s ended up. It was not my intention. I wanted all to ensure they could express their views and all sides of the House could vote. As it was, in particular the SNP were ultimately unable to vote on their proposition.

“I am, and I regret … with my sadness, that it’s ended up … in this position. That was never my intention for it to end like this. I was absolutely convinced that the decision was done with the right intentions. I recognise the strength of feeling of members on this issue.”