The Speaker will stand up at 2.30 on Monday and make an announcement on the new Clerk. Because it could be the end of John Bercow’s Commons career he will make the speech of his life.
It will be a parliamentary masterpiece of apology, mild defiance, injured dignity and ostentatious consensus-seeking.
Players of Oratorical Bingo should look out for:
The timetable was dictated by the outgoing Clerk’s resignation. Process better than we had before. Advertised. Open competition. So necessary to meet the extraordinary challenges we face. All worked hard, interviewed many candidates, acted in good faith as servants of the House. I am the servant of the House. I am referring the matter back to the House in the form of the House of Commons Commission. They will report their recommendations back to the House.
MP: Point of order!
Speaker: “First there are questions, then a statement by the Prime Minister. Points of order always come after the statement.” (He will want the Prime Minister first to paint a picture of global collapse, jihad, party defection, Euro-turmoil in order to make procedural points seem petty.)
MP: “But it IS after the statement. You’ve just made a statement!”
Speaker confers with Interim Clerk Natzler. Then, sensationally, “It was an announcement, not a statement.”
If MPs lose this argument, Points of Order may begin around 4.30 or 5pm, if the Speaker can drag proceedings out.
The Speaker will answer each point, some at filibustering length, some with the holding answer: “This is a matter for the House of Commons Commission. Let them do their work and report to the House.”
There are many questions outstanding. Here are some of the most important, as raised by Guido over the summer…
Senior MP predicts Speaker Bercow will make Commons statement 2.30pm Monday announcing he's backing down on his Carol Mills for Clerk bid.—
joncraigSKY (@joncraig) August 28, 2014
Later Gallery Guido will predict what the Speaker will say, the attitude he will take, the apology he will deploy, the blocking technique he will use, and the Points of Order storm that will follow (under the general heading Not So Fast, Mate).
John Bercow fighting for his position will be a most impressive experience for all concerned, and the parliamentary event of the year.
Quentin Letts also has more:
Respected backbenchers Jesse Norman (Con) and Natascha Engel (Lab) have assembled an impressive force of parliamentary supporters for a move to debate the appointment of Carol Mills in the House. If that happens, Mr Bercow may have to resign.
Bercow is in a hole. Although there is no shortage of personal opprobrium for him — he is the most uncongenial of men — this rumpus is about principle. Who runs the Commons: its Members or their biased Speaker? And that, surely, is a matter for us all. It is our Parliament, not his. It is now embarrassingly obvious that he fixed the committee that selected Ms Mills and that he did so with the assistance of the Shadow Leader of the Commons, Angela Eagle, and the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge.
Monday is going to be fun.
Phillip Davies tells the FT:
“I’ve always told Douglas that he is not a true Conservative, he is an anarchist or communist.”
If the eight Tory MPs weighing up defection headlines sounded a little familiar this morning, it’s because they were a rehash from an old story that was debunked at the time. Here is what Stuart Wheeler told the Telegraph way back in 2012:
“I have had lunch secretly if you like, in a completely confidential way, with eight different Tory MPs. Each was promised by me that I would not tell any of the others, or anybody else except Nigel.”
While it makes for a nice story, Guido suspects Carswell is flying solo for the foreseeable future due to the unique circumstances of his own politics and seat demographics. He’s also set the bar very high as the precedent for any future defection from any political party to another – it must now come with a by-election.
A YouGov poll for the Times RedBox finds that 71% of the country think that (former) Labour South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner should resign.
Interestingly the poll finds that now more than half of the country “have little or no confidence in the police.”
Even Wright’s own deputy has walked, saying he should go and everyone from the Prime Minister to Yvette Cooper agrees. Apparently Ed Miliband agrees too, but you would not know it from any of his public utterances on the subject (zero).
He should have stayed on holiday…
In the post-press conference throng this morning, Guido overheard senior UKIP officials confidently assuring each other that their current candidate in Clacton “will be delighted” with the news that Carswell would be usurping him.
Lets see how that is going…
“Until they fire me, shoot me or blow me out of the party for being a rebel then I’m here,” Roger Lord tells Buzzfeed:
“As far as I’m concerned I’m carrying on.If Mr Carswell wants to join us then he can get in the queue and hand out leaflets with the rest of us. Now that I’ve announced my campaign team, which now includes many members of his campaign team, his vote looks to be sinking quite quickly.”
Yep, he sounds delighted.
UPDATE: Mr Lord should have read his UKIP constitution. Rule S24 says the NEC chooses the candidate in the event of a by-election. Guido is not sure if that counts as firing, shooting or blowing.
UPDATE II: Statement from UKIP party secretary tells Guido:
“Roger Lord is not now, nor has he ever been the by-election candidate for Clacton. The National Executive Committee of the Party have voted to adopt Douglas Carswell as the candidate for the upcoming by-election. Roger Lord is mistaken in his belief that he is the candidate and he can best serve the party’s and the county’s interests by standing behind the decision of the NEC”
What Will Happen if Scots Leave? | David Aaronovitch
Why Are Radicals Like Carswell Leaving Tories? | BBC
Danczuk: Rotherham Abuse Imported From Pakistan | Telegraph
Ashya King Case Shows How Authorities Get it Wrong | ConHome
The Carswell Show | Jon Craig
Cops Seized Journalist’s Phone to Out Whistleblower | Press Gazette
Chuka’s £2,500 Tax Avoidance Donation | Times
Another BBC Stitch Up? | David Keighley
Divided, Pessimistic Tories Expect Defeat | Alex Wickham
Labour Suspends Rotherham Council Members | Sky
PM Used Terror Crisis to Deflect From Carswell | Rachel Sylvester
George Osborne rejects the Ice Bucket Challenge from Ed Balls:
“I’d rather pay the money to charity and pour cold water on his policies.”
Owen Jones says:
We also need Zil lanes.