SPEAKER WATCH: Bercow’s Choice for New Clerk of Commons

The new Clerk of the Commons has been selected but not appointed, Guido understands. The letter is at No. 10, and David Cameron will now decide whether to pass the Speaker’s recommendation to the Queen.

And who is John Bercow’s choice for the £190,000-a-year guardian of Commons propriety? Who will be sitting at the table in the chair vacated by the abused and brutalised Sir Robert Rogers?

Not the senior clerk David Natzler, his encyclopaedic knowledge of parliamentary procedure is not required. No, the nomination for the next Clerk of Clerks has gone to an Australian with no experience whatsoever of clerking.

Carol Mills is the administrator of the Canberra parliament. She represents the latest example of the Speaker’s strategy of Diminish and Rule. She won’t have the knowledge or authority to resist Bercow’s procedural innovations in the House, nor will she know enough about the Gormenghastly complexities of Westminster to act as an independent-minded chief executive (the other part of the job).

She can only aspire to be Bercow’s tool.

Guido’s advice? Cameron shouldn’t reject the nomination. Seeing a ludicrously unqualified person sitting in Sir Robert’s place may cause MPs to realise how far gone the Speaker now is.


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