Questions Mount Over Speaker’s Choice for Commons Clerk

“Bercow appears to have won his battle  for an outsider to run the Commons,” the Guardian’s political editor tweets.

No, no. The battle is very far from won.

Questions around the selection of Australian Carol Mills as Clerk of the House are multiplying.

Did John Bercow fly to the e-democracy conference in South Korea this May to meet her? Is it proper for the chair of the selection panel to meet candidates privately?  Did he give her information that would help her in the interview process?

Were there other irregularities in the interview process?

Was the fact that Carol Mills is the subject of an Australian parliamentary inquiry (for covert surveillance of staff and parliamentarians) disclosed to the selection panel?

Why was Margaret Hodge put on the panel? What is her relationship with the senior clerk David Natzler? Was she chosen because she was not favourably disposed towards him owing to a prior dispute?

Where is the letter nominating Carol Mills? It went to Downing Street a week ago. Has it gone to the Queen?

Sir Robert’s resignation takes effect at the end of this month. What happens if the nomination is not confirmed before the Commons returns at the beginning of September, will Natzler, as the highest-ranking clerk fill the role?

Who will be sitting in the Clerk’s chair when the Commons reconvenes?

It’s not a done deal yet.

PS: Will Carol Mills get a work visa? There are other able women who are British citizens who are better qualified for the job. Will she get the visa in time? Has the visa application been conducted properly, without undue influence from the Speaker’s office?



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GuidoFawkes Quote of the Day

Labour’s Austin Mitchell muses on the campaign:

“What’s the problem? No use pointing at the leader. Too late to change and unnecessary for Miliband is doing well at Question Time. His problem is connecting with the real world. He doesn`t speak people and his protective team of naive kids are playing West Wing rather than letting the leader relate to real people. We could point at the party, shrunk in numbers and enthusiasm because everything, from policy formulation to candidate selection, comes top down rather than bubbling up from below so campaigning becomes the opium of members deprived of any real role, though they`re not even sure what they’re campaigning about, with or for, but its role is marginal.”

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