Kiss star Gene Simmons left MPs stunned as he rocked up to prime ministers’ questions during a surprise visit to the Houses of Parliament.
The veteran American musician, in the UK for the band’s End Of The Road tour, was a guest of DUP MP Ian Paisley and received a private tour before making his first trip into the Commons chamber.
With Prime Minister Rishi Sunak away in the US, the rock star watched deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner take on deputy PM Oliver Dowden in scenes he described as “controlled chaos”.
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Speaking in the central lobby afterwards, he said: “What I just saw in there was controlled chaos. It was the clash of wills but respectful – the right honourable so and so, it was fascinating.
“In America, it’s like the middle finger is a salute. I think Americans can take a big lesson in civility in how to make democracy actually work and still respect the other side.”
Simmons also praised the parliament buildings, describing the surroundings as “insane”.
Asked if he had visited parliament before, the musician – who once worked as a teacher – said: “Never to parliament – taught it to my students, but never was physically here and I will tell you, touching a piece of granite that’s over 1,000 years old is insane.
“America is so young and has no sense of history, everything over there is just fast, immediate, instant gratification and there’s no time to sit there and just gaze, I mean, look where you are – it’s insane.
“We’re standing on, in terms of democracy, hallowed ground.”
Simmons has previously taken an interest in British politics, dubbing former prime minister Boris Johnson “cool as can be”.
He watched on at PMQs as Ms Rayner accused the government of “obstructing” its own COVID inquiry with its refusal to hand over text messages from Boris Johnson, and spending “hundreds of thousands of pounds” of taxpayers’ money on “loophole lawyers”.
But Mr Dowden said he would take no lectures on value for money as she had “purchased two pairs of noise cancelling headphones on expenses”.
He quipped: “I will be fair to (her) if I had to attend shadow cabinet meetings, I think I’d want to tune them out too.”