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.