Bercow has given way and delayed the Mills appointment:
“Order! Order! I wish to make a statement concerning the clerk and chief executive of the house. Currently these two roles are combined in a single post, despite their very different nature. Over the years, Parliament’s affairs have become more complex, its budget has risen and decisions such as on a potential refurbishment of the House have become unavoidable.
Thus highly skilled management is now vital as much as expertise in procedure.
My preference for separating the two aspects of the Post did not meet with sufficient support before the recruitment process and in consequence the combined position of Clark and chief executive was openly advertised.
A range of candidates were considered by an interview panel consisting of five honourable members and a lay member, Dame Julie Mellor.
[Interruption “no deputy speaker!”]
Two rounds of interviews were conducted and at each stage the panel source to select one person who could meet the demanding twin roles both of procedural adviser to the house and of its chief executive officer. The panel reached its decision on July 30, however a number of colleagues have since expressed disquiet…
…their concerns fall into two categories. The first, helpfully raised by the honourable member for Rutland and Melton, is whether the panel should have recommended separating the roles. I was advised that the panel could not adopt this approach without prior legislation.
As I have said, there is a compelling case for such a separation but any change would, of course, require the support of the House.
The second concern is for free appointment scrutiny and was initially put forward by the honourable member for North East Somerset. A strong case can be made for it and on this point also I wish to hear colleagues’s views. In the circumstances, and having discussed the matter with the leader and shadow leader of the House, I believe that a modest pause in the recruitment process is desirable while such issues are explored and the views of members solicited in detail. In the meantime, the functions of the clerk and chief executive will be distributed between members of the management board. I am sure the whole House will wish them well in the discharge of these important duties while the matter is resolved with good will and by consensus.”
In all my years covering Parliament, I've never heard a Speaker openly mocked to his face like today. Even under Michael Martin
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) September 1, 2014