The Speaker in the chair just now looks like he’s been awake for a hundred years. He is not taking the news of today’s Motion in the spirit of democracy.
The Government wants to make the re-election of the Speaker a secret vote. It is a very tender subject.
Elections and re-elections of all other chairs is by a secret vote. This is as it should be.
The re-election of the Speaker is the one exception – it was a deal done between the Speaker and Harriet Harman at the end of the last parliament.
What reckless MP would vote against a sitting Speaker in an open ballot?
This Speaker is vengeful, political, and partisan. Anyone voting against him would fear they’d never be called again.
The House is sentimental, conservative and respectful. A sitting Speaker has an enormous power of incumbency. A secret ballot is the only way of fairly holding a Speaker in check.
The fact that Labour is spitting tacks – and the fact they refer to Bercow as “our Speaker” – shows how partisan this issue is.
Labour have put a three-line whip on and are recalling Members from their constituencies. Protecting their Speaker is more important than fighting the election.
Knowing the depth and extent of Bercow’s artistry – is there any way, by some procedural trick that he can stop this Motion being voted on? “There’s nothing in the book to allow it,” says one who knows, “but then, he writes the book.”
Bercow has scheduled three UQs. This will at least give time for Labour MPs to get back from their constituencies.
Speaker Watch will be watching how this plays out during the day.