Cracks in the House of Commons were laid bare today by something other than MPs arguing over Brexit, as 12 protesters stripped off in the public viewing gallery.
Politicians were shocked as semi-naked protesters glued their hands to the glass partition above the debate, resulting in their eventual arrest.
Action group Extinction Rebellion said the activists had done it to “call attention to the ‘elephant in the room’ – climate and ecological crisis.”
“We are walking dangerously close to irreversible climate collapse – this is what it has come to,” the group said.
Speaker John Bercow kept the debate going ahead of a second round of indicative votes this evening.
But politicians struggled to avert their eyes as Labour MP Peter Kyle tried to support his attempt to force the government to stage a so-called confirmatory cote on its Brexit deal by pointing out what he called the “naked truth”.
Activist Mark Ovland, 35, said: “By undressing in parliament, we are putting ourselves in an incredibly vulnerable position, highlighting the vulnerability that all of us share in the face of environmental and societal breakdown.”
Extinction rebellion tweeted a photograph of police questioning the activists after they had been taken out of the chamber.
Wildlife biologist Iggy Fox, 24, added: “I’m tired of the time and resources our government wastes rearranging the deckchairs on the Brexitanic.
“I want a future, and right now they are burning it like there's no tomorrow.”