SKETCH: The Week the Speaker Lost Control of the House

Suddenly, it’s not circus and ringmaster but chair-poking lion tamer and circling lions.

For years, John Bercow has been Labour’s Speaker. They have colluded. They meet and plot. They brief mutually.

On Monday night, Bercow was pursuing an obscure and insignificant change to standing orders and he was abandoned by the Labour Whips. Their front bench opposed him. The Motion failed and he was humiliated in the House.

He realized that it’s a one-way street. Labour colludes with him only insofar as it damages Tories.

Was this why he snapped at two Labour MPs in the Autumn Statement, including Chris “Well done, John!” Ruane?

More important, he failed to protect his old ally Ed Balls. The noise during the shadow chancellor’s turn was unrelenting. Bercow couldn’t control the Tories.

And he tried.

“It doesn’t bother me,” he said, trying to restore order. “It just lengthens the proceedings. I enjoy chairing.”

He stood there in a Tory storm of “More! More! More!” smiling a brave, fixed smile. Then he sat down and didn’t try again.

Fairly or not, Labour resented this.

It was an old prediction of mine, that Bercow’s partisan treatment of Tories would create a reaction and ultimately he would lose control of the House – and thereby his authority, and finally his position.

That would be the Aesop morality that sometimes comes to pass in politics – where leaders are undone by their own flaws (Blair by the War, Brown by his – oh, where to start?)

We’re not quite there with Bercow, but at least everyone can see how it might happen.




Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Nick Timothy on George Osborne’s latest:

“Evening Standard editorials will soon be shortlisted for the Booker Prize.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
Hammond Overspending by Just £10 Million an Hour Hammond Overspending by Just £10 Million an Hour
Momentum Soft Smut Snapper Rejected as Labour Candidate Momentum Soft Smut Snapper Rejected as Labour Candidate
All Smiles After Cabinet All Smiles After Cabinet
Who’s The Eye’s Telegraph Mole? Who’s The Eye’s Telegraph Mole?
UK Green Lobby Funded by Anti-Immigrant Multi-Millionaire UK Green Lobby Funded by Anti-Immigrant Multi-Millionaire
Tory Glasto Hosted by Multi-Millionaire Gambling Magnate Tory Glasto Hosted by Multi-Millionaire Gambling Magnate
Hammond and Treasury “On Manoeuvres” Against Brexit Hammond and Treasury “On Manoeuvres” Against Brexit
Osborne Lands Job Number Seven Osborne Lands Job Number Seven
Civil Service ‘Not Really Preparing’ For No Deal Civil Service ‘Not Really Preparing’ For No Deal
Osborne’s Latest Duff Analysis Osborne’s Latest Duff Analysis
Corbynista Journo Banned from Conference Corbynista Journo Banned from Conference
Sheerman’s Shameless Shilling Sheerman’s Shameless Shilling
Carwyn Jones Picks a Winner Carwyn Jones Picks a Winner
Red Robbins: May’s Brexit Supremo is Soviet Sympathiser Red Robbins: May’s Brexit Supremo is Soviet Sympathiser
Owen Goes Full Brent Owen Goes Full Brent
What Caused Rachel Sylvester’s Volte Face? What Caused Rachel Sylvester’s Volte Face?
Labour Moderates Screwed Labour Moderates Screwed
WATCH Boris: “I’m Not Resigning” WATCH Boris: “I’m Not Resigning”
Corbynistas Seek Right to Suspend NEC Elections With “Venezuela Amendment” Corbynistas Seek Right to Suspend NEC Elections With “Venezuela Amendment”