May 7th, 2014

Speaker Watch: The Evolution of the Little Prince

John Bercow’s intention of being Parliament’s “ambassador” is evolving into something grander.

Much grander.

In the chamber, his condescension towards Members has become quite princely.

In the last month:

Mr Speaker: (To Simon Burns) He’s a lucky chappy; let’s call the fellow from Chelmsford. (Note royal ‘we’).

Mr Speaker: (To Ian Paisley) Order. The hon. Gentleman has already had one go. His appetite ought to have been satisfied for now. He seems to be a hungry caterpillar, but he will have to wait. Never mind.

Mr Speaker: I call the aviation Minister no less, Mr Robert Goodwill.

Mr Speaker: (To Francis Maude) Order. I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. He is plodding on to the best of his ability, but I say to him politely that . . .

Mr Speaker: I wondered whether guidance was being proffered, but it was merely an expression of interest, in the form of a genuflection, from the Clerk at the Table.

Mr Speaker: The principals are present and correct and we can proceed with questions to the Prime Minister.

This is very far from the tradition of Speaker Lenthall (who famously had tongue to speak only as the House directed).

But such comic grandeur shouldn’t blind his critics to the Speaker’s serious purposes and abilities.

There is the change to SO33 that he has – amazingly – been able to get onto the Order Paper for Thursday (it will pass).

It provides for the Speaker to select up to four amendments to the Queen’s speech and in its arcane way, represents a significant expansion of a Speaker’s ability to influence events.

The last I heard of this proposal, it was rejected by the Government’s business managers so fiercely there was no possibility it would ever get on the order paper. Now, here it is. Why? There will be more than one explanation. But it has the support of Charles Walker (the Speaker-backed chair of the Procedure committee, remember) and therefore of the Speaker.

What does it matter?

Imagine an inconclusive outcome to the next election. A minority Tory Government decides to struggle on. The first test of confidence will be the Queen’s speech. The opposition and minor parties each have an amendment, but there’s a rebel Tory amendment on Europe as well.

If that is selected, it will split the Tory party and bring down the Government before it has started. What a princely victory for the Speaker that would be.

This is the gift Andrew Lansley has made to the Speaker’s party. He thinks his legacy will be e-petitions. Perhaps it will be something else.

NB: But the law of unintended consequences is capricious. If the Speaker has the power to bring down a fragile Tory Government, they will have a real incentive to bring the Speaker down first. And that means bringing back, before the end of this Parliament, the proposal to re-elect the Speaker by secret ballot (something he and Harriet Harman were careful to avoid).


  1. 1
    Little Johnny B13COW says:

    I would be getting above my station if only I could reach.

  2. 2
    Ed Balls - Shallow Chancer says:


  3. 3
    Anonymous says:

    Beercow: a suitable case for treatment

  4. 4
    Lady Virginia Droit de Seigneur says:

    A pompous tw*t of the highest order. I bet Bercow gets on really well with Fatty Pang

  5. 5
    Joss Ayinglike says:

    Speaker Watch: The Evolution of the Little PONCE.

    There ! Fixed it for you.

  6. 6
    Bill Quango MP says:

    The poison dwarf caught me out the other day. Almost..

    Speaker Bercow – “Ahhh… Mister Quango … sorry to have woken you, but you are on the order paper today. Do you have a question for the house?”

    BQ – “Thank you .. yes… my question is “could the speaker kindly keep it down..I find his bellowing disturbs myself and other backbenchers who are trying to sleep off lunch..”

  7. 7
    Mitch says:

    The Speaker is in his place at the pleasure of M.P.’s. It is their responsibility a) that he’s there in the first place, and b) that he remains there.

    He is indeed a disgraceful and pathetic speaker, but then so are the (many) members that keep him there.

  8. 8
    Anonymous says:

    “Speaker Watch:”
    Device, carried by those who seek to demonstrate at least some semblance of an association with reality?

  9. 9
    Anonymous says:

    Will no one rid us of this stupid,pompous & useless berk?

  10. 10
    Ah! stop says:

    Stop paraphrasing mine, of many previous

    He would get up my nose..if he could reach

  11. 11
    Tim Yeo-Yo says:

    Get the little cnut out of the spotlight and under the crosshairs Guido!

  12. 12
    Stroudy says:

    No wonder Labour members were so keen to elect the little twit.

  13. 13
    The wee runt says:

    In the interests of continuing to dhimmify the UK, surely it’s time someone threw a shoe at him during PMQs.

  14. 14
    illogical says:

    Am sure Bercow can withstand the heat of others disagreements .

    After all he’s k-k-k-cold at the top.

  15. 15
    Ockham's Razor says:

    I still do not quite see how that redundant ‘e’ crept into his title.

  16. 16
    Mornington Crescent says:

    As Salopian MP Mark Pritchard rightly observed, “you’re not fucking royalty, you know…”

  17. 17
    Django says:

    The shorter they are the more obnoxious they become!!

  18. 18
    Anonymous says:

    Good call (I think).

  19. 19
  20. 20
    A psychiatrist says:

    He needs some serious help with his personality disorders.

  21. 21
    Point of Order says:

    With respect replace the letter “i” with an “a” in the last word…..

    this is IMO much more applicable for this jumped up odious

    piece of excrement who needs to be flushed away PDQ.

  22. 22
    disgusted of tunbridge wells says:

    Methinks the lady of his household, the shy, retiring Sally, is refusing to allow him to slip her a tiny portion. The result being his frustration is being carried into the ‘House’.

  23. 23

    Brings a whole new meaning to Dwarfdale Speakers.

  24. 24
    grasmit says:

    This pompous little twat is getting ideas above his playstation.

  25. 25
    grasmit says:

    This pompous little twat is getting ideas above his playstation.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    broderick crawford says:

    Were not Hitler and Mussolini vertically challenged ?

    And the Japanese fellah … let s not even go there …

  28. 28
    broderick crawford says:

    ……. actually to be honest I quite like some of his barbs …. specially the one about genuflecting clerks .

  29. 29
    broderick crawford says:

    ….. who by ? …. Sally …. Beer …. Cow ?

  30. 30
    broderick crawford says:

    ” Speaker Watch ”

    A ” speak your height ” machine worn on the wrist.

  31. 31
    Clap Doc says:

    BY me. But he’s the innocent party.

  32. 32
    Nobody Cares says:

    Bugger off

  33. 33
    joekano76 says:

    But apparently you do – care, that is. And I bet you bugger a lot too!

  34. 34
    Nobody Cares says:

    I care about having my time wasted on a blog I choose to visit by a vacuous spiv tying to flog his old shite.
    You are the equivelent of a nuisance phone-call.

  35. 35
    Homunculus Caesar says:

    “Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!”

  36. 36
    Dave lessons learnt says:

    Pleaded guilty MeLud 3 weeks community service.

  37. 37

    My late 6’4″ Dad always said to me your worst enemy will be a short arse cos he’ll envy your 6’2″ height

  38. 38
    joekano76 says:

    I apologise for putting a gun to your head and forcing you to click on a link. Really. Truly. Sorry. You are the equivalent (note the spelling) of a drooling Pavlovian dog who sees a link, is unable to resist clicking and then feels post coital self-disgust. Get some treatment and stop blaming other people for you lack of self control.

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