Bercow Needs Majority of Non-Payroll Vote

James Duddridge’s motion of no confidence against John Bercow has caused Tory MPs to let their feelings be known – Alec Shelbrooke says his position is “untenable”, Karl McCartney has dubbed him the “Jeremy Kyle of Parliament”. Duddridge obviously faces an impossible task in securing a Commons majority against the Speaker thanks to his friends in Labour and the SNP. That he has purely partisan backing will not strengthen his position. The government’s payroll vote is also likely to be directed to abstain. What matters is how the remaining free Tory MPs – who constitute the floating voters – break…

There are 195 Tory MPs who are not on the payroll vote. If a majority of these – 98 Tory MPs – vote for the Duddridge motion, then Bercow will have symbolically lost the confidence of a huge section of the House so much so that they were willing to risk the wrath of the Speaker. A Speaker faced with such a situation in years past would do the decent thing and resign, in fact the men in grey suits would have been to see him if a motion was even proposed, Speaker Martin resigned in 2009 after just 22 signatures. Don’t expect Bercow to do the honourable thing. If he loses the confidence of the free vote vote and clings on he will inevitably end up facing humiliating daily barrackings at Points of Order. The question for the Speaker is – will the Tory non-payroll vote choose to back him or sack him?




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