Speaker Watch: Bercow’s Clumsy Briefing

Odd to see the Speaker briefing against the outgoing Clerk of the House, given the treacle-drizzled eulogy he made at the time of his resignation. Steve Richards’ column in the Indy today has several passages that might have been personally dictated by the Prince of the Palace. Urgent Questions are reported to be a Bercovian innovation, greatly to his credit, shaking up the dusty processes of the House. Richards’ article also claims the applications were often resisted by the “bewigged” Clerk, using public school sporting metaphors. The wicket isn’t ready for play, sort of thing.

In the first place, the Clerk has no authority to resist the application for a UQ, the decision is the Speaker’s. More importantly, the idea of granting more frequent UQs was first proposed before the last Speaker elections, in a document detailing how the Commons’ procedures could be livened up using existing mechanisms. The author of the document? Robert Rogers, Clerk.

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