And that’s the end of the matter, the Speaker told the House. “Til Monday!” Michael Fabricant cheerfully called out.
Clerkgate has a long way to go yet.
William Hague, the new Leader of the House answered Simon Burns’ question about the status of the Mills appointment letter. He revealed that the Speaker had written to Downing St earlier in the week to ask for a further delay.
The Speaker didn’t quite conceal his feelings that his private correspondence was being aired like this.
Because it’s not what he told Burns yesterday “with crystal clarity”. He had said instead that it wasn’t for him to withdraw the letter.
His legalistic wriggling is such that the House is entitled to question everything he says.
Rob Wilson asked Hague about the role of head hunters Saxton Bampfylde, suggesting that they had failed in their due diligence or had been prevented from issuing proper caveats about Ms Mills.
Hague said something important. This question could be raised next Wednesday in the debate entitled Governance of the House and the role of the Clerk.
The Speaker will want to chair that debate in order to rule such observations out of order. He desperately needs to close down debate, block questions, restrict scrutiny. He has such a conflict of interest he shouldn’t be anywhere near that debate.
Will he, for instance, get one of his supporters to table a wrecking amendment, select it, and hope that his ally Rosie Winterton can whip it hard enough to vote the committee out of existence?
Hague further said he would raise the matter at the House of Commons Commission meeting on Monday. That too is significant. Normally, Commission meetings are closely guarded.
Yes, there’s a lot of meat on this carcase yet.
We haven’t even got to Points of Order yet. Burns and Fabricant are closing in. Report to follow.