The Speaker will stand up at 2.30 on Monday and make an announcement on the new Clerk. Because it could be the end of John Bercow’s Commons career he will make the speech of his life.
It will be a parliamentary masterpiece of apology, mild defiance, injured dignity and ostentatious consensus-seeking.
Players of Oratorical Bingo should look out for:
The timetable was dictated by the outgoing Clerk’s resignation. Process better than we had before. Advertised. Open competition. So necessary to meet the extraordinary challenges we face. All worked hard, interviewed many candidates, acted in good faith as servants of the House. I am the servant of the House. I am referring the matter back to the House in the form of the House of Commons Commission. They will report their recommendations back to the House.
MP: Point of order!
Speaker: “First there are questions, then a statement by the Prime Minister. Points of order always come after the statement.” (He will want the Prime Minister first to paint a picture of global collapse, jihad, party defection, Euro-turmoil in order to make procedural points seem petty.)
MP: “But it IS after the statement. You’ve just made a statement!”
Speaker confers with Interim Clerk Natzler. Then, sensationally, “It was an announcement, not a statement.”
If MPs lose this argument, Points of Order may begin around 4.30 or 5pm, if the Speaker can drag proceedings out.
The Speaker will answer each point, some at filibustering length, some with the holding answer: “This is a matter for the House of Commons Commission. Let them do their work and report to the House.”
There are many questions outstanding. Here are some of the most important, as raised by Guido over the summer…