Fists fly in the House of Commons

In what The Times newspaper called ‘one of the most extraordinary scenes ever witnessed in the House’ opposition Liberal Unionists and supporters of Mr Gladstone’s Second Home Rule Bill engage in a fist-fight on the floor of the Commons. Following a spat between Liberal Unionists calling for Irish Nationalist MP T.P. O’Connor to withdraw his reference to Joseph Chamberlain as ‘Judas’ and Liberal MP John Logan, the benches and gangways erupted into a free fight with several members giving and receiving blows. Some accusations that the Unionists had provoked the situation in order to prevent a division were advanced but the news reports seem to describe a scene of spontaneously escalating disagreement, hostility and then violence – or ‘pandemonium in the House’, as The Times reported.