If you were watching PMQs yesterday you may well have been wondering what on earth was happening with Labour MP Chris Bryant. As Boris Johnson was answering a question from Keir Starmer about Brexit, the Speaker interrupted him to chastise Bryant for some off-camera incident. The Rhondda MP promptly disappeared from the chamber and did not return until later on during the same session. Lindsay Hoyle had to interrupt the PM a second time after Bryant appeared at his side: "Mr Bryant I think we need this conversation later". "Fine" came Bryant's petulant response and he waved his arms before stomping off.
Chris Bryant is one of Labour's most ardent Remainers and the incident is thought to have begun after he was asked to be quiet while the PM was speaking. According to The Sun and Daily Mail, he was 'chuntering' in a doorway at the back of the opposition benches. The Speaker was also unhappy with where the MP was standing as it created a lack of social distancing. Bryant is alleged to have responded to Sir Lindsay by throwing his hand in the air and saying: "Oh, f*** off". He then scarpered through the open door.
Bryant has not spoken publicly about the clash, but told the Mail that he 'categorically' denied swearing at either the PM or the Speaker.
While it can't be proven either way what happened in the first exchange, Bryant's behaviour upon his return was simply childish.
It appears that there is a simple reason for Bryant's behaviour and it is not so much about Brexit, but about personal rivalry. Last year he went head to head with Hoyle for the Speaker's role and came off second best. On first preference votes he actually came third behind Eleanor Laing, but managed to reach the final run-off where he was comfortably beaten 325-213.
Chris Bryant is not only a sore loser over Brexit, but he is still smarting twelve months after losing out on the Speaker's role. Thank Heavens this petulant little man didn't end up in the chair!