The Case for Speaker Ming

Iain Dale reports that Ming Campbell is to throw his hat into the ring if and when the ‘Noes’ challenge the Speaker’s confirmation this afternoon.

Speakers-OfficeThis changes the dynamics of the situation greatly, Ming is respected across the benches, and unquestionably has the gravitas and dignity which would bring credit to the house. As a former silk he has the ability and authority to command respect, whereas John Bercow has on a number of occasions been on the edge of losing control of the House.  The Squeaker certainly has lost self control.

People forget that Ming was one of twelve candidates for the position of Speaker when Betty Boothroyd stood down in 2000, but he lost out to Michael Martin. The House of Commons might have cause to regret that decision and may be minded to seize this second chance. Ming has one other great unspoken factor in his favour.

He isn’t John Bercow.

UPDATE : The betting has opened with Bercow heavily favoured to retain the Speakership.

Too Early for "Bercow Must Go"

Bercow on Probabtion

With the support of only 3 members sitting on the benches of the next governing party never in living memory has a new speaker so divided the house. Already the drum beat has started to undermine him.  Don’t get Guido wrong, there is good reason to be wary of Speaker Bercow.

He is the candidate of a party on the way out.  Like a drunk being thrown out of the pub they have spat on the floor before they got thrown out the door.  Bercow is disliked intensely by those who know him best, the longer you have known him, the less you like him. He was championed by Julian Lewis, who fought a dubious and disingenuous campaign against the public finding out about house flipping by MPs.  In the run up to his election Bercow called for a 60% pay increase for MPs. These are not good omens.

Putting aside Guido’s personal animosity, there are some good things to be said for Bercow.  No one doubts his energy or his ability to articulate his views.  They are not things that could be said for the last Speaker.

Speakers-OfficeThere is no point undermining him before we see how he actually performs in the job.  There is now an opportunity for a great reforming Speaker to drive through reforms that regain for parliament the ability to hold the government to account and in check.  Bercow has been elected on a manifesto promising to modernise procedures, strengthen democratic oversight of the government and make parlaiment more transparent.  If he sets the course for great reform let him keep his job.  If he fails, the next parliament should not hesitate to find someone else who can do the job.

UPDATE : Dale reminds Guido that Bercow promised that any minister who made an announcement to the media instead of the House first would be called to explain himself before parliament. Watch out for that, Guido’s money is on Ed Balls doing it first. Wonder what will happen if Mandelson does it…

Speaker Underwhelms

Not exactly his finest hour was it? He really is the most chippy useless speaker to have sat in that chair. He is a terrible champion of parliamentary democracy.

Lest We Forget

Cover by Holly, aged 17, in memory of her great, grandfather.

Guys Arrested, Searched, and Ticketed


Outside Downing Street:

+++ Police Arrest and Search Ten Guy Fawkes in Parliament Square +++

Remember, Remember

Since Guido is a tourist in Westminster today, this lunchtime seems like a good day to go for a walk. Assuming that he isn’t arrested (again) Guido will then be sauntering along to Millbank to listen to Hazel give her speech to the Hansard Society and responding to it at about 4pm. Later tonight having tunnelled inside the House of Commons, Guido will be shining a light on the normally opaque world of those shysters known as lobbyists at an event chaired by David Hencke, the Guardian’s delver into dirty deeds. It is organised by the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency who ironically are a front group for totalitarian greens. Your enemy’s enemy etcetra…

With the Public Administration Select Committee shortly to publish its recommendations from a year-long inquiry into the lobbying industry, now seems like a good time to put the boot in. Should say incidentally that sleazy lobbyists Morgan Allen Moore have told the Association of Professional Political Consultants that they will withdraw from the self-regulation group if Robbie Macduff speaks on the same platform as Guido. Hopefully that is a promise, good riddance to bad rubbish…

Averting the Next Crisis: why transparency in lobbying matters


David Hencke, Westminster correspondent, The Guardian (Chair)

Robbie MacDuff, Chair, Association of Professional Political Consultants

Robert Siddall, CEO, Airport Operators Association

Peter Facey, Director, Unlock Democracy

Prof David Miller, Director, SpinWatch

Guido Fawkes, Westminster blogger

6 -7pm, 5th November 2008

Committee Room 9, House of Commons

Sponsor, John Grogan MP

Contact for further information, stories or comment
Tamasin Cave: Tel: 07973 424 015; email:

No PMQs live-chat today, am in Westminster all afternoon. Media bids for Guido re Walk / Blears / Lobbyists to 0709 284 0531. Later…

Cut Out and Keep Masks for Tomorrow

Downloadable Guy Fawkes Mask

Get your own at Scribd or explore others: Politics

You’ll need a scissors, some glue and a piece of string. Gunpowder optional

Stockwell Shocker

The jury has been off to retrace Menezes’ last moments at Stockwell station. Did they notice this inappropriate film poster?

From an email going viral.



Book of the Year

The ConservativeHomies have voted The Triumph of the Political Class their best book for 2007/08. Guido thinks they have made a good choice – the book is spot on. Peter Oborne anatomises a cross-party, parasitical ruling class. The class is personified in the next generation of most likely leaders of the major political parties; Clegg, Miliband and Cameron.[…]


“Frankenstein Bill” : No Free Vote, No Conscience Allowed

In 1990 when the Tories introduced the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act it was by a free vote. The Telegraph reports that Gordon has forced a three line whip on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which will allow for the creation of animal-human embryos.[…]


Today is a Dark Day in History

On this day in 1606, Guido Fawkes, following months of torture was convicted of treason for his part in the ”Gunpowder Plot” against an oppressive political class and the tyrant King James I, and executed. Now, some four centuries later, it is Guido’s turn to torture politicians…


Enjoy the Fireworks


LibDems Call for End to Anti-Catholic Bigotry

LibDem equality spokesperson, Lorely Burt, is today calling for an end to discrimination against Catholics. She therefore rises in my estimation considerably (am pretty certain she also put her card behind the bar one night after an event Guido attended, it is all a bit vague).[…]


Falconer : Anti-Catholic Statutory Bigotry to Stay

The government can find time in the busy legislatory calendar to drive Catholic Adoption agencies out of business, but it can’t find time to amend anti-Roman Catholic bigotry enshrined in statute. Lord Falconer told Lord Patten that “The Government already have a heavy legislative programme and therefore have no plans to legislate in this area.”

They say the victors write the history books.



Remember, Remember….

Centuries of anti-Catholic discrimination could come to an end if John Gummer gets his way. Not often that Guido lines up behind Cornerstone, but with this bill the headbangers should prevail.
Gummer’s speech moving the bill was good, very gently listing some of the slights against the Catholic church still on the statute books.[…]


Tip offs: 0709 284 0531

Quote of the Day

Philip Hammond at Treasury questions:

“I’m sorry to be boring.”

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