Last Thursday Hoyle blindsided some after publishing the House of Commons Commission’s “roadmap out of lockdown” without consultation, infuriating unions who said the return “should only happen when it safe to do so and when key stakeholders have had the chance to feed in”. Guido hears this uncharacteristic cock-up from Hoyle was more than an accidental slip-up.
Tension has risen between Mr Speaker and the Government over the timetable to return to normal, with Guido hearing a visibly tetchy Hoyle’s ire was raised when three Tory MPs used Rees-Mogg’s Thursday question session to criticise the current virtual Commons. Sources deny any sort of set-up…
While Hoyle is responsible for seeing staff return to Westminster, and the re-opening of catering, bars and services in the palace, it is the Government who decide whether remote Zoom questioning can continue. Hoyle’s roadmap made a thinly-disguised elbow-dig at the Commons leader:
“It is hoped proposals on whether virtual proceedings continue and when the House of Commons Chamber returns to normality – which are not matters for the Commission – will be unveiled at a later stage. These will follow the government’s review on social distancing and discussions between the Leader of the House and the Speaker.”
It looks like in his desire to pull the rug out from under Rees-Mogg’s feet by prematurely releasing his roadmap, Hoyle tripped himself up with the unions. This latest row mirrors what was reported last May, when he was again at odds with the Government over their desire to return to normal as quickly as possible. Hoyle’s increasingly asserting himself in the Chamber and outside of it. He’s not anywhere near gone full Bercow – yet.