TODAY was quite an extraordinary day in Westminster, and believe me, I have seen a number of extraordinary days in my 21 years in the place.

My colleague John Nicolson was subject to a parliamentary vote as to whether or not the Privileges Committee of the House of Commons should investigate a breach of the House rules and determine a sanction. John’s “alleged crime” was to post a short video on Twitter expressing his disappointment that the Speaker didn’t support a referral to the Privileges Committee of the former secretary of state for culture. The House passed John’s referral by an overwhelming majority.

Now let’s get to the Privileges Committee. The committee is responsible for adjudicating the conduct of Members of the House and can impose sanctions up to and including suspension. It usually deals with the most egregious behaviour – think Owen Paterson’s outside earnings or Boris Johnson’s partying to get a sense of its usual day-to-day business. I have never known it to consider “something on Twitter” or “correspondence with the Speaker” but John will now face its full force and could ultimately face suspension from the House.

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What I think angered the House is that John is adjudged to have upset the Speaker by “betraying” the contents of a letter sent to him and disclosing its details. The thing is, John did not disclose any letter but merely summed up its contents. I’m in my seventh term in parliament and have even served on the House of Commons Commission and I had no idea that stating or summarising a response from the Speaker was an offence that could result in a suspension. I think most MPs would be totally unaware of such a “rule”.

The National: Lindsay Hoyle at work in the Speaker's chair (c) House of Commons/Jessica Taylor

John, of course, apologised for not knowing the rules and for any perceived offence that was felt by the Speaker. But that was not enough. The proverbial pound of flesh was to be secured, hence the motion. I have to say I have never seen the House so intent on “getting its man” and what ensued was the worst type of institutional bullying from the highest institution in the land.

Today was a black day for Parliament. I don’t know why John was picked on in this way but it was unedifyingly ugly.

People ask us why we want away from Westminster. Yesterday gave another example as to why we must get out of its clutches as soon as possible.