Bercow’s Bombshell Bollocking

Speaker John Bercow has thrown a massive spanner in the works of Theresa May’s wish to delay postpone the meaningful vote scheduled for Tuesday. Stating that communing the debate and cancelling the planned vote is “premature and inconclusive”, the Speaker pushed for the Commons to vote on whether they vote tomorrow, calling it “the right and dare I say it the obvious course to take.” The Government can technically plough on regardless, but Bercow has applied acute and piercing political pressure, especially just days after the Govt was voted in contempt of Parliament…

Bercow on Reading Guido

Despite Bercow’s office being quick to send complaints he told someone who inquired if he had seen our story from this morning

“Reading Guido is not a priority of mine.”

Another unhappy reader…

Bercow: ‘A Second Referendum is Fundamentally Undemocratic’

One belief that unites government officials, Cabinet ministers and even the most ardent Brexiteers is that the Speaker, John Bercow, is doing his utmost to frustrate Brexit. The next few weeks will likely see him use the discretion of the Speaker’s office to favour every legislative means to hinder the government. When he was under pressure over his bullying, senior Labour figures openly said the same. Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said we “do need to have all hands on deck at the moment… I think this is absolutely not the time to be changing speaker… We don’t know, for example, with regard to Brexit, what is going to happen.” Former Labour foreign secretary Margaret Beckett went further, saying “the constitutional future of this country… trumps bad behaviour”. Effectively giving him carte blanche to do what he liked so long as he was against Brexit.

Parliamentary machinations around the meaningful vote and the process of making legislative progress towards Brexit give Bercow a lot of leeway. Leeway that the government fears will be used against them to facilitate a second referendum. Yet after the referendum he said that would be undemocratic!

This is an extract from a letter he sent to a constituent the month after the referendum:

I appreciate your disappointment with the result — a sentiment shared by many others across the country. The reality of the situation, however, is that the vote to leave the EU exceeded the vote to remain by over one million. It is very difficult to argue with such a clear statement from the British people.

The referendum served to gauge the views of the country, although the Prime Minister has made abundantly clear throughout the whole process that he would view the result as an instruction from the British people. My understanding is that that is also the stance of his potential successors on the Government benches, of the Government as a whole and of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition. Having asked the public for their verdict, it is now for political leaders to give effect to their will.

Over 33.5 million people cast a vote last week which equates to about 72% of the electorate. Turnout at this level has not been seen since the 1992 General Election —widely seen as the apex in terms of voter turnout in recent years. It is difficult to argue that turnout was too low and that the overall result was not convincing. No matter which side of the argument won, it was inevitable that there would be people left disappointed. That is the nature of debate, elections and referendums. It is fundamentally undemocratic to argue that the process should be re-run because the outcome was not what some people wanted.

He was right.

Download: full letter.

What Is Bercow Hiding?

Since he became speaker, John Bercow has ruled fourteen times that a topic is so sensitive it can’t even be judged by a court and must remain secret. This is done by issuing a certificate of exemption to section 34 of the Freedom of Information Act. When it comes to secrecy, Bercow is extremely trigger happy

Most recently this relatively obscure was used to block an investigation into Bercow’s dodgy pal Keith Vaz. What else is he protecting from proper scrutiny..?

Bercow Bullies Leadsom Out Of The Chamber

The Chamber saw some extraordinary targeting of Andrea Leadsom by the Speaker this morning. Talking in the chamber is very normal behaviour. The way Bercow spoke to the Leader of the Commons is certainly not. It’s clear who comes off worse here. Tetchy Bercow looks like he had a big night last night…

Commons Clerk Resigning

Bercow has announced that House of Commons Clerk David Natzler is resigning. Natzler will resign and retire in April next year. The Cox report into Parliamentary bullying singled out the Clerk of the House for criticism along with the Speaker and other Commons senior management. When will the Speaker follow his lead…

Bercow to Host Parliamentary Anti-Bullying Event

Fresh from explicit criticism in Dame Laura Cox’s report into bulling in the House, over allowing bullying, harassment and sexual harassment… to thrive,shameless Speaker John Bercow will on Wednesday be hosting a stunningly hypocritical anti-bullying event, complete with a photo op in Speakers’ House. In the context of the Cox report, this can only be seen as a brazen act of trolling from the Speaker…

Bercow Uses Personal Veto to Block Vaz Investigation

John Bercow has personally stepped in to stop a BBC investigation getting information about the behaviour of Keith Vaz. BBC Newsnight applied under the Freedom of Information Act to see papers relating to Vaz’s trips abroad, after clerks had raised concerns that he was not following parliamentary rules. In August the same programme revealed how Vaz himself had bullied former Commons clerk Jenny McCullough after she questioned his foreign trip expenses.

Bercow argued that administration of committee trips should be covered under parliamentary privilege, and then extraordinarily blocked the matter going to tribunal, using a very unusual personal power to prevent a judge reviewing his argument. Because of this, unlike normal FoI procedure, Newsnight has no means to appeal his decision…

Newsnight’s Chris Cook sums up the extraordinary situation:

“The net result is that the Speaker, who denies bullying, has made an order to hide information about the behaviour of his close personal friend, Keith Vaz, a man who also denies bullying – supposedly to protect MPs’ freedom of speech.

And then he has gone out of his way to use a personal veto to make sure no-one could even consider reviewing that questionable decision.

Bercow will continue to get away with it as long as he is protected by MPs who prioritise his anti-Brexit views over safeguarding and transparency…

Commons Staff Furious at Bullying Inquiry “Stitch-Up”

Commons staff have reacted with fury to the news that the new independent inquiry into Parliamentary bullying specifically rules out taking any action on individual cases. Incredulous staff received a letter from Gemma White QC this morning, informing them that:

“The Inquiry will not reopen past complaints of bullying or harassment or investigate new ones against particular individuals. Nor will it reach conclusions or make recommendations on any individual case.”

One angry researcher called it a “classic Bercow stitch-up”. Of course, an independent inquiry into Parliamentary bullying has already taken place – the Cox Inquiry – and did point the finger of blame at specific individuals, including the Speaker. The whitewash announced today makes a mockery of Parliament’s claims to be taking the issue seriously…

Bercow Has No Intention of Resigning Next year

Watch the reaction when Sky reporter Aubrey Allegretti asked John Bercow to clear up if he’s definitely resigning as Speaker next summer. He didn’t answer and instead his aide aggressively shoved the reporter away. This is revealing on a number of levels.

Firstly, the video reveals that he condones this kind of unnecessarily aggressive behaviour from his staff. Secondly it confirms that Bercow is unwilling to give an on the record confirmation of when he intends to step down. It has been widely reported that “John Bercow has told friends he intends to stand down as Commons Speaker next summer”. The use of “friends” by political journalists often means the subject himself is giving an unattributable comment or he has authorised someone the comment on his behalf. By avoiding giving an on the record commitment to go he will be able to say next year that he gave no such commitment, despite it being widely reported this week.

Bercow’s ruse is intended to merely take the heat out of the moment following publication of the Cox report and leading parliamentarians calling for him to go. Not the usual awkward squad, people like Maria Miller. By letting it be known without personally committing that he intends to go soon, he discourages MPs from making a move against him. A push against the Speaker requires substantial effort and involves the risk of retribution or a loss of preferment. The Speaker enjoys almost monarchical powers in parliament, he is the prince of the Palace of Westminster. Wounding him without removing him means he will be able to exact revenge and that is very much within his bullying nature. Unless there is a concerted and organised cross-party effort Bercow will stay in office for as many years as he can. He has no intention of stepping down whatever his “friends” tell the press.

Bercow Unmoved by Commons Harassment

Watch this to the moment when Labour’s Teresa Pearce told the House that her constituent who was a victim of abuse by her employer. Her employer being “this House”. You could hear a pin drop in the chamber. Bercow couldn’t bring himself to look at Pearce. He just stares resolutely down at his order paper…

Duddridge Launches Guided Missile at Bercow


James Duddridge walloped the Speaker with a stinging question that homed in on its target with flawless accuracy:

“This a disturbing report which identifies a number of unacceptable behaviours… taunting, mocking, mimicking, deliberately belittling in front of other members, making offensive comments about appearances, belittling someone’s junior status, making lengthy and humiliating tirades of criticism of abuse in front of colleagues.

How can we encourage Mr Speaker to stop this behaviour?”

Bercow laughs…

Maria Miller Tells Bercow to Quit

Equalities Committee Chair Maria Miller has directly told Bercow to quit in the wake of the Casey Report into Parliamentary bullying. Miller said:

“The report is clear that there needs to be a complete change in leadership at the most senior level, including you Mr Speaker…”

Meanwhile the likes of Emily Thornberry are continuing to insist that it is “not the time” to change Speaker because of Brexit…

Bercow Bullying Blasted by Parliamentary Inquiry

The Cox Inquiry into the bullying of staff in the House of Commons has excoriated the senior Commons administration, finding “a culture, cascading from the top down, of deference, subservience, acquiescence and silence, in which bullying, harassment and sexual harassment have been able to thrive and have long been tolerated and concealed.”

Dame Laura Cox explicitly names the Speaker’s Office as part of the “senior House administration” which must replaced in order for the bullying culture to be addressed, concluding:

“I find it difficult to envisage how the necessary changes can be successfully delivered, and the confidence of the staff restored, under the current senior House administration.”

Bercow will carry on regardless unless and until Labour MPs decide otherwise

Bercow Slammed

Dame Laura Cox report into Pestminster slams Bercow and his team…

“I find it difficult to envisage how the necessary changes can be successfully delivered, and the confidence of the staff restored, under the current senior House administration.”

Runners & Riders: Standards Committee Chair

Standards Committee Chair Sir Kevin Baron resigned yesterday citing his frustration with the lack of transparency in Parliamentary investigations. Thankfully there are a good number in Parliament who are experienced in the field of standards investigations. As ever, Guido brings you the most experienced runners and riders to take on this auspicious role…

  • Keith Vaz: On the two year anniversary of the formal investigation being opened into his conduct, who else has more experience of standards investigations? His litany of misadventures is like that of no other MP. Vaz seems to be the clearly most experienced for the post.
  • Jared O’Mara: Although new to parliament O’Mara has already made a big impact. A rising star who the Standards Committee will already know well.
  • Damian Green: Time on his hands now he’s out of the cabinet. Very driven. Hard worker.
  • Stephen Crabb: Gets on very well with potential staff. Too well.
  • Debbie Abrahams: Sacked from the front bench after bullying allegations. On the look out for a new job…
  • Dan Poulter: Experienced with disciplinary investigations. Plenty of hands on experience.
  • Ian Paisley Jr: Despite his 30 day parliamentary suspension beginning yesterday, he would be a perfect fit for the role. Once he returns to work.
  • John Bercow: Had promised to retire from his current job by now. Knows how to get away with all sorts of shenanigans. He acts like a shop steward already…
  • Clive ‘On Your Knees Bitch’ Lewis: Erudite, used to complaints, and out of favour with his party leadership after he and Owen Jones appeared to be manoeuvring to oust Corbyn last year. He has enough time on his hands…

Bercow Won’t Fly England Flag for Belgium Game Tonight

Bercow confirms that the Cross of St George will not fly above Parliament for the Brexit derby tonight, but it will for future World Cup games. Beaten to it on Whitehall… 

Hands Rinses Bercow

A subtle demolition of Bercow by Greg Hands:

“Mr Speaker, we all need to keep our election pledges, and that, Mr Speaker, applies whether we made those pledges one year ago or nine years ago.”

He lied…

Friday Caption Contest (Down But Not Out Edition)

Entries in the comments…

Bercow’s Last Day

In June 2009 when he became Speaker, John Bercow promised MPs he would serve “for no more than nine years in total”. That deadline expires today, but he’s still in office…

While we all wait for Bercow’s last day, this is the line from the Speaker’s office:

“He was elected by the House in 2017 for the course of the Parliament.

[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Former Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King…

“There are arguments for remaining in the EU and there are arguments for leaving the EU. But there is no case whatever for giving up the benefits of remaining without obtaining the benefits of leaving.”

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