You may not have heard of Lord Michael Bates before, but his ever-so-polite resignation from the House of Lords looks set to go down in history…
Lord Michael Bates was expected in the House of Lords at 3 pm on Wednesday to answer a question from Labour’s Baroness Lister.
According to the BBC, though, Bates failed to show – and Lister’s question was answered by the Lords chief whip, John Taylor, instead.
When he did arrive (a mere 60 seconds late, we hasten to add), Bates stepped up to apologise to Lister and the assembly.
However, instead of blaming his alarm clock or the traffic for his tardiness, he got swept up in his apology and publically announced to his peers that this disgrace was such that he could not possibly stay in Parliament.
“I want to offer my sincere apologies to Baroness Lister for my discourtesy in not being in my place to answer her question on a very important matter at the beginning of questions,” he said, looking pained.
“During the five years in which it’s been my privilege to answer questions from this dispatcher box on behalf of the government, I’ve always believed that we should rise to the highest possible standards of courtesy and respect in responding on behalf of the government to the legitimate questions of the legislature.
“I am thoroughly ashamed at not being in my place and therefore I shall be offering my resignation to the prime minister… with immediate effect. I do apologise.”
He then abruptly dropped the mic, turned on his heel and walked out – much to the bafflement of his peers.
Check it out:
The Lords Labour leader, Angela Smith, was kind enough to go down the ‘everybody makes mistakes’ route.
She stepped up after Bates and stated: “An apology from the noble Lord Bates is perfectly sufficient. It was a minor discourtesy of which any of us could be guilty of on occasion.”
And Baroness Lister, to whom Bates apologised, has since urged him to reconsider his resignation.
“Of all the ministers I’d want to cause to resign, he’d be the last,” she said to The Guardian.
A Downing Street representative added: “With typical sincerity, Lord Bates today offered to tender his resignation after missing the start of an oral questions session in the House of Lords, but his resignation was refused as it was judged this was unnecessary.”
Images: Rex Features