June 13th, 2014

Speaker Watch: Turbulence in the Teacup, the Clerk Succession

The Speaker’s Plan A, to split the role of Clerk and Chief Executive, has failed because it would require legislation to enable it.

His Plan B, for an outsider to come and be the new Clerk, is failing because no one is applying (in the same way, David Beckham doesn’t apply for lead dancer at the Royal Ballet). Hence, head hunters. And hence, Simon Burns in Business Questions asking what the cost would be of the head hunters’ services (estimate: £100,000).

Plan C is an internal appointment.

The rumour is that Liam Laurence Smyth (“Who?”) is pencilled in as the Speaker’s favourite for the next Clerk of Clerks. Amiable, anonymous, the Clerk of Journals. (“He’s done a lot of work for the Speaker in Burma.”) He has a number of advantages – he isn’t David Natzler, the old Etonian dauphin to outgoing Sir Robert. He is nice. He is pliable. He is junior. He fits in with the Speaker’s strategy of Diminish and Rule. Is the rumour true? It’s true there’s a rumour.

The advantages of Philippa Helm are very considerable. She has all the assets of Liam “Who?” but with added diversity. That is a powerful strategic asset in fostering Labour support. Machiavellian logic would put her as the Speaker’s preferred candidate, and all other rumoured favourites as a blind.

PS: Little Prince is obviously having difficulty fixing the panel of selection because when you ask who’s on it – nobody knows.


  1. 1
    Jack Dromey says:

    A turd in a tea cup.


    • 42
      Well John says:

      What the little shortarse doesn’t recognise when he’s mouthing off about how Parliament is not held in esteem, is that he himself (and his wife) are very much a cause of the problem he talks of. He’s viewed as a pompous over-promoted pipsqueak by the public, and does nothing to expunge this widely held view.


    • 43
      Dorkass says:

      Fair but not harsh enough.


    • 50
      Tory Bare! says:

      WTF? – (“He’s done a lot of work for the Speaker in Burma.”) …

      Is that the updated version of “He’s engaged in a lot of ‘Ugandan Discussions’ for the Speaker’?

      I think we should be told…


    • 58

      I find that offensive to tea cups


  2. 2
    Betty wasn't that bad after all says:

    The Clerk of parliaments role is to pass notes back to the speaker reminding him not to be a C*nt.
    That’s why Bercow has a problem with them.


  3. 3
    TJ says:

    Bercow is a nasty little man seeking to build an empire to secure his legacy. His modernising (should that be destruction) of the Parliamentary procedures has been awful. Debates are now 3 minute soundbites and question time, for all departments are so rushed that iften neither the question or answer are completed before the little man decides he’s heard enough.


  4. 4
    Keyser Snoozey says:



  5. 6
    The Taliban Dance Band says:

    What the HoCs need is lots of UKIP MPs. That should shut up the Speaker – for a while at least. Vote UKIP – yesterday, today and tomorrow.


  6. 9
  7. 11
    BERCOW is Parliament's SHOneT says:

    But then he has a problem with everybody


  8. 12
    Former insider says:

    As well as spending my time checking out the best places for a dump in the Palace of Westminster I also used to appreciate the other things.
    The traditions and the quality of individual(mostly ex military) who made up the inner workings of the house.
    All there if you like to whisper in the ear of those in power.
    ‘You are not a god,you are just a man’
    What Blair did was to replace most of them with civil service greasy pole climbers who ticked the right diversity box.
    You don’t need me to tell you the result.


    • 51
      Anonymous says:

      If you really wwere an insider you would know that Blair had no bloody say whatsoever in replacing X with Y.


  9. 14


  10. 15
    Peter Hitchens says:

    Give it to suicide bummer Owen Jones, maybe Sally from the alley can convert him to normal sexual practises


  11. 17
    Owen Jones,Socialist turned Capitalist says:

    Meanwhile at Lords cricket ground.

    Very well played Joe Root, 200 not out.

    Another crate of Bollinger please,Guido.


  12. 20
    Mrs May says:

    Bog bandits steal loo roll worth £600. Police say they’ll get to the bottom of it… http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/pair-admit-part-600-loo-3687634

    They will be brought to justice.


  13. 22
    Peter Hitchens says:

    The good folk of Iran celebrate Owen Jones’ rainbow diversity


  14. 23
    Peter Hitchens says:

    Hanging around in tehrans SOHO


  15. 30
    Sunny Jim says:

    Squeak off, Berk-cow


  16. 34
    Olwyn Jones Queen of the valleys says:

    Lloyd Jones blew my Grandfather


  17. 36
    Olwyn Jones Queen of the valleys says:



  18. 37
    Breaking News says:

    Ming Campbell currently spazzed out in the back of an ambulance… No doubt McMong will be running gleefully around his padded cell with his pants on his head if he kicks the bucket.

    Fuck knows why this isn’t already all over twitter the fucker keeled over in public.


  19. 40

    If true, this could be damaging for Cameron after all the fuss:

    Lansley for a set of posts may not work out – but with all the disinformation flowing from Europe of late, this report may need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

    Vote UKIP :-D


  20. 41
    Right Threads Dead says:

    I’m surprised Guido’s post about office clerks hasn’t drummed up more comments.

    Never mind I bet Clegg was pleased his photo was right next to Jeremy Clarkson’s in the collage of Brit celebs featured on the front page of The ‘free’ Sun.


  21. 48
    Bercow says:

    I was on the “Steve-Love-the-Show-Wright in the Afternoon” this week. No Speaker has had such an accolade nor had so many honours heaped upon him as ME!


  22. 52

    Plan XXL. Clerk of the Rumours, innit?


  23. 53
    Big D says:

    Anyone who married Sally B must be off their rocker .
    Typical Banty Cockrel type.
    All mouth and trousers .
    Bring back Betty.


  24. 59
    Anonymous says:

    “He’s done a lot of work for the Speaker in Burma.”
    Including the decryption of cryptic acronyms, discovered on the back of envelopes?


  25. 61
    Esta says:

    fair enough


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