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Politics

The 15 Most WTF House Of Commons Moments Of 2015

Hedgehogs, man bags, and Harry Enfield impressions – this year really had it all.

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1. That time a minister showed off his Latin skills during a speech about hedgehogs.

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In a debate on the prickly creatures in November, environment minister Rory Stewart declared: "Multa novit vulpes, verum echinus unum magnum."

It roughly translates as: "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog one big thing." Deputy speaker Eleanor Laing commended him on "one of the best speeches I have ever heard in this house".

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2. It really was the year of the hedgehog. Just last week a cabinet minister wished them a happy Christmas.

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Environment secretary Liz Truss said: "I want hedgehogs too to have a very happy Christmas." Have a good one, spiny friends.

3. The strange moment an SNP MP roared like a lion.

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Angus MacNeil, the MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, roared after he was caught locking himself in a toilet because he walked into the wrong lobby. It's a long and bizarre tale that you can read here.

4. When the Speaker called for "order" in the weirdest way ever.

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"Uhhh-uhhhh-uh-order! Order!" John Bercow said in a strange, strangled falsetto back in October.

5. That time Iain Duncan Smith punched the air in glee.

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"Yessss! Fantastic!" the work and pensions secretary yelled as George Osborne announced a new "living wage" in July.

6. When John McDonnell read from Chairman Mao's Little Red Book before flinging it across the despatch box.

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"Let's quote from Mao, rarely done in this chamber," said the shadow chancellor.

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“Oh look, it’s his personal signed copy!” said a delighted George Osborne.

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7. The moment a young wannabe MP hit the deck in an impressive bid to catch the Speaker's eye.

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We look forward to following his parliamentary career with interest.

8. When an MP decided Prime Minister's Questions was a great opportunity to ask about a tiger.

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In an unexpected move, Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner told a packed chamber in September how his local zoo had been unable to import a tiger.

"I think the house wants to hear about the tiger!" said Speaker John Bercow.

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Cameron then upped the ante by revealing that a rhino had been named after his daughter Nancy.

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9. That time Ed Miliband came back after the election and was thrilled to see his old mates.

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When your mate waves at you and you don't realise you're live on TV

During a debate on equality in July, SNP MP Martin Docherty complained that while female MPs were allowed to bring handbags into the chamber, male MPs were banned. "That perpetuates stigma and gender stereotypes," he said.

Tory MP Stephen Phillips agreed, saying: "I will stage a protest with the honourable gentleman. We will both bring in our bags."

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11. The moment that MPs heard all about Cameron's "six pack" and didn't know where to look.

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In one of the most toe-curling comparisons of the year, the PM was likened to TV hunk Poldark. Tory MP Sheryll Murray said in May: "Like Ross Poldark, the prime minister can now tell his wife that he has his own six pack: six blue constituencies in Poldark county."

Home secretary Theresa May was clearly sceptical about the "six pack" claim.

12. When SNP MPs were banned from clapping – because saying "hear hear" and waving your order paper around is obviously the thing to do.

View this video on YouTube

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"Can I say at the start of the parliament that the convention that we don't clap in this chamber is very, very, very long-established and widely respected," Bercow told new MPs, who were rather baffled.

Tory MP Mike Wood told how his dad was a mounted policeman during the Handsworth Riots in Birmingham in 1985. "I remember coming home from school just as my father returned home earlier than usual, his hand bandaged and his face pale," he said in December.

"That day, he had gone into the police stables to prepare his horse, where I am afraid he was bitten by a squirrel. Fortunately, that was the most serious injury my father suffered in those riots."

14. When a Tory minister attempted a Harry Enfield impersonation.

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Economic secretary Harriet Baldwin quoted from the comedian's "Women: Know Your Limits!" sketches during a debate on women and the economy.

Please, never ever again.

15. The moment David Cameron was nearly hit in the face by Black Rod's staff. (Yes we know it was in the House of Lords.)

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The PM had a near-miss when Black Rod, a senior parliamentary official, swung his staff a little too close for comfort back in May. Cameron's face was quite something.

Emily Ashton is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Emily Ashton at emily.ashton@buzzfeed.com.

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