SIR LINDSAY HOYLE, the Speaker of the House of Commons, is fighting for his political life, and it is not hard to see why.

His decision to allow a Labour amendment to be heard during an SNP opposition day debate resulted in chaotic scenes which made the country look foolish.

It managed to make unlikely bedfellows of the Conservatives and the SNP, and left Labour open to accusations that it had nobbled the Speaker.

This is serious as the Speaker is effectively the referee of Parliament. He is on no one’s side. His job is to let everyone’s opinions be heard, just as a football referee’s job is to let the game flow. If he alters a decision because one of the managers shouts at him, that is not fair play.

However, Sir Lindsay is an honourable and decent fellow who has done a good job in his five years as Speaker, and we should take at as genuine his statement that he wished to get as many views as possible voted upon because he feared for MPs’ safety if extremist constituents didn’t see them on record as having voted for a ceasefire.

MPs’ safety is a growing concern. If MPs are threatened then democracy is shut down. Sir Lindsay is right to have this uppermost in his mind, yet by bending precedent to allow the Labour amendment, he has effectively given in to those who might make threats.

It is all very messy which has left the Speaker’s authority so seriously damaged, he might not be able to carry on.

And it has left the British public shaking their heads in dismay at all the shouting and political point scoring. If our politicians cannot reach a consensual conclusion that the deaths of 30,000 people is a very bad thing and the killing has to stop and the hostages have to be released, it is a very poor show indeed.