Statement after PMQs is apparently not for Bercow to grovel, despite his ‘pause’ in appointing a new Commons Clerk becoming permanent. Delicious.
The Speaker’s attempt to stitch up the Commons clerk job for disgraced Aussie Carol Mills is officially over. A report by the House of Commons Governance Committee published today finds that “the ‘paused’ recruitment process for Clerk of the House/Chief Executive should be formally terminated”, ruling the Clerk job should be split:
“The Clerk of the House should remain Head of the House service, appointed by Letters Patent, but should not also be titled Chief Executive; A new post of Director General of the House of Commons should be created, reporting to the Clerk but with clearly delineated autonomous responsibilities for the delivery of services”
They conclude: “we propose new recruitment processes for the Clerk of the House and the Director General of the House of Commons which are in line with modern recruitment practice”. Jack Straw did not want the report to be critical of the Speaker, he wants the reforms to command wide support and be implemented, they almost certainly will. This is implicitly as much of a slap down for the Speaker the Governance Committee was ever going to give…
John Bercow’s choice for Commons clerk is facing disgrace Down Under after a committee found she provided them with “contradictory” and “misleading” information. A scathing report from the Aussie parliament’s Privileges Committee today condemns Carol Mills for “a serious breach of accountability and probity”, finding her testimony over when exactly she knew CCTV cameras had been used to investigate leaks to be untrue.
“The submission … documents cast considerable doubt upon the evidence given by the secretary… The committee has not been able to reconcile the evidence given at the estimates hearing with the submission and documents which Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) has subsequently provided. There should be no doubt … that the committee considers [this] … to be a serious breach of accountability and probity.”
Mills has gone to ground and is refusing to give comment to the Australian media. ABC reports her future is now “uncertain” and “under a cloud”. Today’s findings will mean her future does not lie in Westminster…
UPDATE: Senator John Faulkner, in speech given in the Senate yesterday described the department run by Carol Mills in these terms:
A parliamentary department should be an exemplar. But DPS is not.
The findings of this damning report, that the Secretary:
- has misled Senate Committees, and
- has given contradictory evidence, and
- has overseen the unauthorised use of CCTV,
reinforces my view – publicly stated – that DPS is the worst run government department in the Commonwealth of Australia.
A not so glowing reference for Bercow’s choice of Clerk…
Readers will remember John Bercow’s former spinner Justine McGuinness, who was forced to resign after Guido revealed her bizarre anti-Tory rant at LibDem conference. Where is she now? McGuinness is in the running to replace the outgoing Jeremy Browne as MP for Taunton Deane, last night making the shortlist to be the new LibDem candidate for the seat. If Justine makes it back to parliament, the “completely impartial” Speaker will treat her as he would any other MP, won’t he?
An antipodean co-conspirator draws Guido’s attention to Australian Senator John Faulkner’s damning assessment yesterday of John Bercow’s choice for the next Commons clerk. Carol Mills was up before a scrutiny committee to explain why the records of $30,000 worth of photographs that she commissioned from a photographer, who happened to be her neighbour, have gone missing. Now Faulkner is accusing Mills of telling porkies, telling the Australian parliament:
“The Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services has stated at estimates that she knew the photographer—Anne Zahalka—and in fact they live in the same street. At the most recent estimates round, I asked the DPS secretary, Ms Mills, whether this raised the obvious question of either a conflict of interest or a perceived conflict of interest?’ In response, the secretary informed the committee: “I did not interfere, involve myself or influence in any way any of that process.”
…Last night, the committee was informed by DPS, despite Ms Mills’s earlier assurances, that she was involved in the final decision to contract Anne Zahalka. Despite her October statement to the committee that she ‘did not interfere, involve myself or influence in any way any of that process’, she actually signed off the contract offered to Anne Zahalka. According to evidence from DPS officers to the committee, the secretary was being briefed and kept in the loop about the photography contract. The secretary also signed off on a decision relating to some of the commercial aspects of the arrangements with Ms Zahalka.”
Faulkner says this “raises very serious questions about the probity and transparency” of Mills’ actions. How did this person even come close to taking over Parliament?
The Canberra Caterer is covering herself in glory again down under. Speaker Bercow’s preferred choice to be the next Clerk of the Commons has once again been hauled in front of a scrutiny committee of the Australian parliament to explain her actions.
“I feel that the standards in the department have not met the expectations that I would’ve had coming into the department nor have we been able to fix them as quickly as I would’ve liked,” says Carol Mills in regard to why the records of $30,000 worth of photographs that she commissioned from a photographer, who happened to be her neighbour, have gone missing. “It’s regrettable that we still have gaps but we’re certainly striving hard to improve systems and we’ll take any learnings… very seriously,” claimed Mills in pure management speak.
What was it about this incompetent pen pusher that so captivated the Speaker’s attention?
Not content with telling off Theresa May earlier in the week, the Speaker is now very upset with Dave for announcing his new terror laws in Australia rather than in parliament:
“What people want is straight-dealing, honouring of commitments and
This summer the Speaker of the House of Commons netted £7,510 in donations from the Lawn Tennis Association. It’s a nice perk of the job for John Bercow to sit in the Royal Box at Wimbledon and attend two other […]