SKETCH: Bercow Does Bashful

The Speaker made his statement (of course). There was barking throughout. Never has a Speaker’s statement been heckled. Scoffing, scornful laughter on “A number of colleagues expressed disquiet.”

He said as little as possible, played it straight, modestly, firmly, with a self-deprecation mild enough to sound plausible. “My preference did not meet with sufficient support,” he said to explain why the combined post was advertised.

The management challenge was larger than it ever has been. The move out of the building and the refurbishment of the buildings was, he implied, beyond the capacity of clerks.

So, the panel chose the candidate to be both chief adviser to parliament and chief executive.

As to separating the roles “Any change would require the consent of the House.”

On the pre-appointment hearing he says he wants to hear views.

He is offering “a modest pause in the recruitment process while views are solicited in detail.”

This is the first stage of what he hopes will be an orderly retreat.

There are some powerful points to be made about Saxton Bampfylde’s role and conduct , and whether the Speaker conspired to keep Ms Mills’ travails away from the Panel.

But these points arise from what he said today.

* No previous recruitment process has been so disorderly. You knew the Clerk would serve three to five years only. Why didn’t you start the process of separating the roles a year ago?

* Any change would require the consent of the House? You have selected a candidate who can only do half the job without the consent of the House. When were you planning on consulting the House?

You want to solicit views in detail. What is the mechanism for presenting views – will they be presented in public or behind closed doors, in private one-to-ones?

But this is just a warm-up. Ranging shots. Exploratory jabs. Sizing up the opposition, calculating its strength and support.

Will he cut and run after the statement? Or will he stay to test the mood of the House?

Either today or tomorrow, battle will be joined in earnest.




Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

George Osborne paraphrases Boris, telling the FT:

“If the ball came loose at the back of the scrum, I wouldn’t fumble it”

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.

Facebook

Jackie Walkercaust Jackie Walkercaust
Jim The Salesman Spotted With Corbyn Jim The Salesman Spotted With Corbyn
Labour Illiterate On Illiteracy Labour Illiterate On Illiteracy
Momentum Mock Injured Soldiers Momentum Mock Injured Soldiers
I SCHEMED A SCHEME I SCHEMED A SCHEME
Watch Glitter Balls Watch Glitter Balls
Did Boris Really Want Brexit? Did Boris Really Want Brexit?
Ken Interviewed, Doesn’t Mention Hitler Ken Interviewed, Doesn’t Mention Hitler
Chuka’s Single Market flip-flop Chuka’s Single Market flip-flop
LABOUR HQ PURGE FEARS LABOUR HQ PURGE FEARS
Carter Ruck Deleting Brooks Newmark Sext Pics Carter Ruck Deleting Brooks Newmark Sext Pics
Mandelson Aide Funding Owen Smith Mandelson Aide Funding Owen Smith
OILY WANTED CORBYN TO GO ON OILY WANTED CORBYN TO GO ON
Hinkley: Forseeable Financial Fiasco Hinkley: Forseeable Financial Fiasco
Baroness Shami(less) Baroness Shami(less)
Just How Totes Posh Is Stella Creasy? Just How Totes Posh Is Stella Creasy?
Thornberry “Sky Sexism” Meltdown Thornberry “Sky Sexism” Meltdown
WATCH HILLARY DROP WATCH HILLARY DROP
PMQs Sketch PMQs Sketch
Vaz Broke Law Vaz Broke Law