Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SPEAKER WATCH: Bercow Calls Fabbers a “Silly Man”

Dissent will not be tolerated. The Speaker didn’t want to take Michael Fabricant’s intervention at Welsh questions this morning, because apparently he is a “silly man”. Quite a bunfight:

Not very parliamentary…

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

SPEAKER WATCH: Little Prince Tightens Grip on Principality

The Speaker’s manouevres are starting to generate some resistance from the floor of the House, as we’ve recently seen in PMQs.

Now, news from the labyrinth of the Palace.

The Clerk of Clerks resigned recently (to get away from the Speaker’s abusive behaviour, observers said). And Bercow has ripped up the ad for his replacement.

The job description has been rewritten to downplay clerkly knowledge, ability, virtue – and to favour managerial skills, expenditure control, ICI-type experience and abilities.

This will make it easier for an outside professional to get onto the shortlist.

However, he or she will then be competing with others of enormous procedural knowledge.

How would a clever little Prince deal with that?

(more…)

SPEAKER WATCH: Every Little Helps

An exceptionally well-placed source whispers to Guido that the Speaker has tried, perhaps successfully, to broker a meeting between Julian Lewis with Dame Joan Ruddock to help him seek Labour support for his bid for Defence Select Committee Chairmanship. Also, Bercow called Lewis in Defence Questions yesterday, despite  him not being on the Order Paper – just as he did at last week’s PMQs. It would appear the neutral Speaker of the House is doing his utmost to help out his old chum and campaign manager.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

SPEAKER WATCH:  Bercow Gets His Weapon

What pervasive influence the Speaker has in the Commons, and how systematically he is extending it.

Is it proper that he chairs a debate on further increasing his own powers?

That sort of consideration is a nicety now, as fastidious as crooking one’s little finger on a teacup.

Andrew Lansley brought the proposal to the House to allow the Speaker to call four Amendments to the Queen’s Speech.

Not a move to restrict Mr Speaker from calling amendments, he said, but to give certainty. Because one reading of Standing Orders (the Speaker’s) suggested he might call unlimited amendments to the Queen’s Speech. So he is giving certainty by restricting Mr Speaker from calling amendments by increasing the number of amendments he can call.

There are times when procedural debate is a snake swallowing its own tail.

Charles Walker, chair of Procedure committee and a senior placeman in the Speaker’s party, brokered this proposal and congratulated “a certain maturity” in the Leader’s office in accepting it. He really must have got knocked about at school.

Angela Eagle described it as “a welcome Government climbdown in the face of defeat.” She welcomed it “with a little snigger”. She recalled the rebel amendment to the Queen’s Speech, signed by130 MPs, and described it as a “humiliating blow to the PM’s authority.”

It is entirely possible to agree. And to see how the extra power will allow the Speaker to organize behind the scenes further “humiliating blows to the PM’s authority”.

And with what relish will he put himself to the task.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bercow Returns Favour for Campaign Manager
PM Joins Tory MPs in Openly Mocking the Speaker

Bercow and Julian Lewis have been thick as thieves for decades so it was no surprise to see the Speaker call his old campaign manager at PMQs, despite the Defence Select Committee Chairman wannabe not being on the order paper. No surprise either to see Lewis asking about Nato and Defence spending. You might imagine the other candidates will be a little miffed with such a blatant favouritism at a time of heightened campaigning. Lewis may well be picking up a lot of Labour support due to his opposition to intervention in Syria, but being Bercow’s Boy will hardly endear him to Tory backbenchers…

UPDATE: Tory MPs took the mick out of the Speaker so much when his old nemesis Simon Burns rose for a question that he had to intervene. The PM even joined in the mocking.

Another great day at the office.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How the Evans Accusations Ended Up in Court

Sarah Wollaston’s role in the Nigel Evans saga can now be fully explained. The Guardian have done a pretty good round up:

“At first, the alleged rape victim told no one what happened. He used his iPad on the train home from Evans’s cottage to search for rape and sexual assault support, but quickly distracted himself with his 12,000-word dissertation. He was not to know that around the same time his friend – the other key complainant – made what he described as an “off-the-cuff remark” to Wollaston about his own encounter with Evans.

The impromptu conversation, over glasses of wine in a Westminster bar, was crucial and triggered a chain of events involving the police.

A month later, in April 2013, the alleged sexual assault victim confided in more detail to Wollaston in a one-on-one meeting, and she decided to set up an urgent meeting with the Commons Speaker, John Bercow. Shortly before the meeting with Bercow, Wollaston’s phone rang. It was the alleged rape victim who, for the first time, gave her his account of what happened when he had slept at Evans’s cottage in Pendleton a month earlier.

Wollaston, a GP with 20 years’ experience including a spell working as a police forensic examiner where she dealt with victims of sexual and domestic violence, told Bercow about both complaints against Evans at a meeting in the Speaker’s office, where Bercow’s secretary and the alleged sexual assault victim were also present.

Bercow said it was for the young man to decide whether he should take the matter to police. A meeting with the alleged rape victim was scheduled for the following week but, following legal advice from the Speaker’s counsel Michael Carpenter, Bercow’s secretary informed Wollaston that the Speaker “cannot handle this”.

Wollaston, frustrated by the response from Bercow’s office, took the matter into her own hands and passed a police telephone number to both men, telling them they had a duty to come forward and ensure Evans was apprehended before any other young men were assaulted.”

And the rest is history…

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WATCH: I Am Bercow, Hear Me Roar!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Speaker’s Little Helpers: Bercow’s Bill Hits £2m

When John Bercow was elected Speaker in 2009, his campaign team said:

“The Speaker can either be a road block to reform or an agent of reform and change and there’s no doubt about it that John Bercow will be that agent of change.”

After five years in the £142,000 job, the only thing that has changed is the size of Speaker’s bill. Not happy with just his coat of arms, Bercow has grown his team to a nine-strong entourage of helpers at a cost of £383,000 a year. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun, they include a £42,000 train-bearer whose job it is to carry his ceremonial cloak:

  • Speaker’s Secretary: up to £93,380
  • Assistant Speaker’s Secretary: up to £61,255
  • Chaplain: up to £61,255
  • Trainbearer: up to £42,401
  • Diary Secretary: up to £35,723
  • Personal Secretary: up to £29,330
  • Secretary: up to £29,330
  • Ad hoc Adviser: up to £15,512
  • Cleaner: up to £15,042

Add that to the £37,500 a year on jet-setting around the world and his £8,000 annual expenses bill and Bercow has creamed the taxpayer for more than £2 million since 2010. The ‘agent of reform and change’ is hardly short changed…

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Stewards’ Inquiry: Can You Hear ‘Crackerjack’ at PMQs?

A steward’s inquiry is required to determine if Guido’s tip that the word ‘Crackerjack’ would be said during today’s PMQs came good. As Nadine Dorries congratulated the Speaker for his new role as chancellor of Bedfordshire University, Guido reckons you can hear the word being uttered in the background. So will Paddy Power be paying out?

3/1 for Crackerjack to be Said at PMQs with Paddy Power

Will MPs be able to resist the temptation to shout out “Crackerjack” at today’s PMQs? Over at the Paddy Power blog, Guido gives you a run-down of the best betting available for today’s session. It’s Wednesday, it’s twelve o’clock, it’s PMQs!

UPDATE:


Seen Elsewhere

UKIP Fundraiser Was Jailed for Running Brothels | Times
Bercow Faces Probe Over Pass Mystery | Mirror
Harman Breaks Rules on Paying Staff | Express
Labour Whinge About Sandi Toksvig Joke | Mail
BBC Boss Search in Disarray | Times
Tory Membership Set to Outstrip Labour | Staggers
Three Cheers for the David Brents | Ed Conway
Small State Keynesians, Anti-Corporate Hayekians? | Chris Dillow
Ruffley Shows Why We Need a Proper Recall Bill Now | Alex Wickham
How is Miliband’s ‘New Politics’ Working Out? | Speccie
State Should Send More Poor Children Private | Sam Bowman


new-advert
Westbourne-Change-Opinion Guido-hot-button (1)


Damian McBride writes in the epilogue to his memoir…

“At the time of writing, nine months from the election, I’ve concluded that Labour currently has no positive messages to communicate to anyone about why they should vote for the party, no policies which will persuade them, and is being run in a totally dysfunctional way.”



Rob Wilson says:

Without Predujice

Darling

What time will dinner be ready this evening?

Yours

Rob Wilson MP

In the interests of me I am placing a copy of this email in the public domain.


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads