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Jacinda Ardern denies Speaker 'protects' her

Newshub logoNewshub 6/12/2018 Zane Small

Jacinda Ardern has defended Speaker Trevor Mallard over accusations he's biased and protected her during Question Time on Wednesday.

Her comments come after National leader Simon Bridges made the claim following his dismissal from the House yesterday.

Asked by media if the Speaker is biased towards her, the Prime Minister gave a simple response: "No."

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"Every Speaker brings their own style, and it's not uncommon for the Opposition to push up pretty hard against Parliament's referee," Ms Ardern told media in Invercargill on Thursday.

"I think the Speaker for Parliament does a very good job. It's not an easy job to be a referee among a bunch of politicians."

a man and a woman posing for a picture © Newshub. Her comments come after Mr Bridges was asked to leave the House on Wednesday, following a remark about the Speaker "protecting" Ms Ardern.

National deputy leader Paula Bennett said it was "extraordinary" that the leader of the Opposition was thrown out of the House along with National MP Gerry Brownlee.

Mr Bridges spoke to media after he left the House, saying: "The Prime Minister wouldn't answer and Mr Mallard was trying to protect her," Mr Bridges said, after he was asked to leave the House of Representatives.

"I've made that point to him. I said, 'Here comes the protection'."

National MP David Carter also criticised the Speaker for his decision to ask Mr Bridges to leave the House, saying the events of Question Time have caused him to "reflect on the frustration that is building among the Opposition".

But Chester Borrows, Deputy Speaker until Anne Tolley was sworn in at the end of 2017, says it's one of the hardest jobs in Parliament because of the difficulty of remaining impartial.

He says Wednesday's chaos in the House was far from the first time a Speaker has been accused of protecting a Prime Minister.

"Remember David Carter was accused of protecting John Key over the comments made about defending rapists," he says, in reference to comments made about refugees in 2015.

On Tuesday, Mr Mallard called Mr Bridges a "smart-ass", and said he wants to "reinforce the fact that I have had more than enough of points of order that are nothing but disorderly".

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