You snooze you lose! Extraordinary moment Labour peer was BANNED from speaking in the House of Lords… because he had slept through the start of the debate
- Labour’s Lord Young of Norwood Green was rebuked for sleeping in debate
- The peer was accused of dozing off by government whip Baroness Bloomfield
- When he tried to speak Lady Bloomfield complained that he should not take part
A Labour peer was banned from speaking in a House of Lords debate for falling asleep in an extraordinary slapdown last night.
Lord Young of Norwood Green was bluntly told to sit down when he tried to intervene in a discussion on genetic modification.
Government frontbencher Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist swiped that he had been ‘fast asleep’ throughout the minister’s contribution and could not participate.
When the 79-year-old objected that he was not asleep any more, Lady Bloomfield said she had been forced to get one of the doorkeepers in the chamber to wake him up.
The comical exchange came during a debate on rules that would allow the UK to deviate from EU law on GM crops.
Lord Young of Norwood Green was bluntly told to sit down when he tried to intervene in a discussion on genetic modification
Going… during the opening speeches at 9.22pm Lord Young (top left) seems to be following the proceedings
Going… By 9.26pm the Labour peer seems to be struggling to keep his head up
Gone? By 9.28pm the peer is slumped in his chair as his colleagues continue the debate. He was then rebuked at 10pm when he tried to intervene
As he stood to speak in the debate, Lord Young said: ‘I wanted to take part in this debate because I stake my position as somebody who is a Remainer, but if there’s two things that I welcome in coming out of the Common Market, one is the CAP and this particular gene editing…’
Government whip Lady Bloomfield intervened to say: ‘I am sorry, but the noble lord was fast asleep for the entire duration of the minister’s speech.
‘He really should not participate in this debate having failed to take advantage of the ability to hear him.’
Lord Young, a former union boss who has also served as a BBC governor, replied: ‘Sorry?’
Lady Bloomfield said: ‘I am afraid the noble lord was fast asleep for the entirety of the minister’s opening speech.’
Lord Young replied that he was ‘not now’ asleep, but Lady Bloomfield said: ‘Well I had to send a note to you – in order to wake you up – by the doorkeeper.’
Environment minister Lord Benyon said the The Draft Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2022 would allow the UK to ‘remain at the forefront’ of research into GM crops.
Government frontbencher Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist swiped that he had been ‘fast asleep’ throughout the minister’s contribution and could not participate
The doze have it: Politicians caught ‘resting their eyes’ at Westminster
Lord Young of Norwood Green is far from the first politician to be accused of ‘resting their eyes’ in Parliament.
The problems have been so frequent that in 2018 the Tory chief whip in the Upper House sent a memo to colleagues warning of the need to maintain ‘standards’.
Labour peer Lord George Foulkes was seen seemingly dozing on the famous red benches in a 2017 BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary.
And denizens of the Commons have not been exempt from the need to nap.
Labour peer Lord George Foulkes was seen seemingly dozing on the famous red benches in a 2017 BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary
Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne nodded off in full view of the cameras in 2018 as he listened to a speech by ex-Cabinet minister Ken Clarke
Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne nodded off in full view of the cameras in 2018 as he listened to a speech by ex-Cabinet minister Ken Clarke.
He later suggested an early morning swim had been to blame, and made light of the episode the following day by asking then-PM Theresa May to answer a question that ‘keeps me awake at night’.
Mr – now Lord – Clarke joked that before a subsequent debate he checked that Sir Desmond had ‘a cup of coffee’.
Jacob Rees-Mogg came under fire for his extremely relaxed posture during a Brexit debate in 2019.
His elegant sprawling over the frontbench was widely mocked in memes on social media.
Despite being pictured with his eyes shut Mr Rees-Mogg insisted he had not fallen asleep.
A misleading impression can often be created about whether politicians are asleep because of the positioning of speakers in the parliamentary benches.
The BBC apologised in 2015 after suggesting Tory Alec Shelbrooke, who is partially deaf, was dozing when in fact he was craning to hear what was being said.
Jacob Rees-Mogg came under fire for his extremely relaxed posture during a Brexit debate in 2019