Monday, August 25, 2014

Gallery Guido: The Bercow Remedy

The House feels it is being bounced into accepting a split role of Clerk and chief executive. MPs are complaining.

They feel that the split, if desirable, needs thought.

Whether the chief executive should answer to the Clerk of the House or to the Speaker is one important consideration.

The remedy is in their hands.

If the Backbench Business committee grants a debate with a votable Motion – and the Motion is carried – then the decision will be implemented forthwith. It is House business.

The Motion would say something along the lines of . . . A pre-appointment process should enquire into the splitting of the roles of Clerk and chief executive of the Commons in the first place and only once that principle has been established should the candidacy of Carol Mills for Clerk and chief executive be subject to a pre-appointment hearing with the power to reject her.

It needs a clerk to write the Motion, obviously. Someone who knows what they are doing.

Dominic Grieve Joins Anti-Bercow Bandwagon

Jesse Norman has spent the weekend canvassing support for his proposed motion. Dominic Grieve has joined those saying they will support a motion if it is put to a vote. The antithesis of a hothead, the former Attorney General’s support confirms how badly Bercow has judged this affair. A number of PPS level supporters have been confirmed and the support is broadly tri-partisan.

Guido would be not be in the least surprised if Bercow turns round later this week and says that he, of course, fully supports Jesse’s proposal for scrutiny of the appointment. If he doesn’t he could find he is the one who faces rejection by MPs in the new parliament…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

icebercow480

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Speaker Watch: Uncompromising “Compromise”
Bercow Close to Getting What He Wants

The accusation that Ms Mills’ department used CCTV footage to breach parliamentary privilege was raised by MPs on the panel but they were told there wasn’t time to go into it and that it wasn’t relevant. If John Bercow endorsed that view, or was the source of it, he may find himself carried by an uncontrollable stream of events. That would count as lying to colleagues.

In the meantime, it’s reported he has offered a compromise – to split the role of Clerk into two, hiving off the chief executive function so that Carol Mills can credibly fill the position. But that’s not a compromise, or retreat or backdown. It’s what he wanted all along. It’s Plan A.

An outside chief executive with no prior loyalties and no experience of the difficult environment of Westminster answering only to him. With a £2 billion parliamentary renovation project coming up, this is one of the big appointments of the decade. If the new role doesn’t require clerking experience or procedural knowledge it should be re-advertised. The pool of potential candidates will be very much larger than the one from which Carol Mills was mysteriously fished. If the role is split, the selection process should start again.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday Seven Up

Friday, August 22, 2014

Charges Against Bercow Puppet More Serious Than Reported
Facing Possible Six Months Imprisonment for Contempt

“She may not be much of a clerk, as she knows nothing about procedure, but I’m happy to accept the panel’s assessment that she’s a first rate chief executive.”

That’s what generous people say about the clerical candidate Carol Mills.

But what evidence is there that she is this high-calibre, fair-minded apostle of the Nolan Principles of Public Life?

An admission she made in a committee hearing in May this year caused an astonished senator to call for, and to be granted, an emergency debate in the Senate followed by an Inquiry (yet to report).

President of the Senate John Hogg described Ms Mills’ admission as “a very serious matter”, saying:

“It is fundamental to the law of parliamentary privilege that any act that has the effect or tendency of constituting improper interference with the free performance by a senator of the senator’s duties as a senator may be treated as a contempt.”

The maximum sentence for contempt includes six months in jail.

Carol Mills took over Canberra’s dysfunctional Department of Parliamentary Services in 2012. Whistleblowers were still releasing information to Senator Faulkner two years later.

Ms Mills’ management response had a dash of Stasi in it: she monitored the comings and goings of the senator’s office by the use of CCTV.

Second, and separately, there is an inquiry – unanimously agreed and sponsored by all parties and Independents in the Senate – into the performance of Ms Mills’ DPS.

This is not a routine appraisal.

The terms of reference are very wide-ranging and will scrutinise every level of this riven department – still considered by some to be the worst-administered department in the Commonwealth, even after two years of Ms Mills ‘ world-class leadership.

Guido repeats the question asked before. Was the panel of selection informed of these inquiries? Was the seriousness of the charges revealed?   And if so, what was the panel thinking?

The Clerk is the highest guarantor of parliamentary privilege – they had sitting in front of them someone being investigated for breaching it.

Were they told? And if not , why not?

UPDATE: Looks like we will be getting some movement:

Meanwhile government sentiment seems to be hardening: “Discontent rising,” says one source. “Consulting parliament was supposed to be his USP in the role, after all.”

Splash Gordon Next?

If Darling did not do the right thing and nominate Gordon next, Guido will be very disappointed…

Friday Caption Contest (Dr Tucker Edition)

Too Many Tweets

Westminster Public Affairs have done their annual Twitter tot up. When they’re not on holiday, the 461 MPs online sent a total of 718,431 tweets in the last year. “Over this twelve-month period MPs spent a combined total of over 115 days (or more than 2774 hours) sending Tweets.” That’s an awful lot of time wasting… 

So who are the biggest blabbermouths?

Well apparently George Galloway – who recently described being an MP as tedious – comes out on top with 16,399 tweets.

The top-Tweeting Conservative MP is Michael Fabricant with 11,311 tweets – some of them costing him a job as the Vice-Chairman of the party.

Shouty-crackers Karl ‘anger management’ Turner is seemingly as much of a gobsh*te online as he in Parliament and on trains, topping iLabour with 12,577.

While Tim Farron’s campaign to convince everyone he is a thoroughly nice bloke, while simultaneously knifing his leader, sees him top the LibDems with 14,741 Tweets.

Wasting time on the internet is meant to be Guido’s job.

There’s Already Been a Clegg Movie…

James Kirkup pitches his script ideas for Clegg: The Movie.

“My name is Nicholas William Peter Clegg, commander of what’s left of the Army of the South West, deputy chair (acting) of the Federal Executive Committee, loyal servant of the true emperor Paddy Aurelius. Father of a murdered party, husband to a murdered campaign for AV. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

Casting is underway for the Channel 4 production… 


Seen Elsewhere

The Douglas Carswell Shock | Tim Stanley
Carswell is a True Moderniser | Charles Moore
Assembling a New World Order | Henry Kissinger
India’s Modi Bypasses Mainstream Media | Index
Bercow on the Knife Edge | Quentin Letts
Welcome to Mississippi | Conservative Women
LibDems Select Hancock Replacement | Blue Guerilla
Carswell Resigning: “Moment Labour Won Election” | Labour Uncut
Why We Need Change | Douglas Carswell
The Howard Roark of Westminster | Guardian
Carswell, the Clacton Cassandra | James Ford


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Douglas Carswell…

“I stab people in the front, not the back.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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