Bercow Jeered by MPs

The row over Bercow’s decision to overrule his clerks and Parliamentary precedent to select Dominic Grieve’s amendment has triggered a barrage of points of order from furious MPs which is still ongoing half an hour after the end of PMQs. And is far more entertaining…

ERG Deputy Chair Mark Francois asked a particularly pointed question resulting in cheers from MPs and jeers for Bercow. Bercow knows he can continue to act with impunity as long as Remainers are happy to keep turning a blind eye to his behaviour…

mdi-timer 9th January 2019 @ 1:21 pm 9th Jan 2019 @ 1:21 pm mdi-comment Comments
Bercow Overrules Parliamentary Clerks In Desperate Bid To Stop Brexit

In an unprecedented move, John Bercow has chosen to overrule the advice of his clerks, selecting a Dominic Grieve amendment that forces the Government to hold rolling votes very three days following a defeat of the meaningful vote. Developing…

Bercow is behaving as outrageously as Guido predicted.

UPDATE: Grieve confirms his amendment has been selected saying,

“It is eminently sensible and I hope the Government will accept it. This solidifies and emphasises the key role of Parliament. It is going to be essential in dealing with Brexit.”

By applauding Bercow’s constitutional sabotage and defiance of the advice of his clerks, Grieve has revealed himself to be a far cry from the defender of the constitution he likes to paint himself as. Just as Brexiteers suspected, his high-minded talk of principle and the constitution was just for convenience’s sake…

mdi-timer 9th January 2019 @ 10:54 am 9th Jan 2019 @ 10:54 am mdi-comment Comments
Bercow Could Thwart Brexit if the Meaningful Vote is Defeated

Like most of you Guido has tried to put thoughts of Brexit away for Christmas, nevertheless something besides brussels sprouts has been nagging at him, which, whilst the news flow is slow can be explored at length. Labour remainers have of late turned a blind eye to Bercow‘s bullying, mistreatment of staff and gender specific language for one reason, they believe he will be an ally in thwarting Brexit. He has considerable leeway to do so…

The common argument is that although Parliament is sovereign, if the Government holds its nerve there is nothing opponents to Brexit can do to stop the UK leaving the EU on WTO terms. However, there are many things Parliament can do to get its way:

A Contempt Motion
If the House of Commons votes on a non-binding motion to extend or revoke Article 50, and the Government choses to simply shrug its shoulders and ignore the instruction, the Speaker could choose to hold the Prime Minister in contempt of Parliament. How realistic is it for the Government to repeatedly ignore the will of Parliament in terms of repeated contempt motions?

Amendments in Scope
Opponents of Brexit will table amendments to the meaningful vote motion on a second referendum, membership of the Customs Unions or extending or revoking Article 50. Although these votes would not be binding on the Government, John Bercow could use the votes as a demonstration of the will of the House of Commons. This could embolden the Speaker to be even more flexible about the amendments he deems to be in scope of Brexit legislation. So for example the Trade Bill, Immigration Bill or Agriculture Bill could all be amended to make the Act conditional on their being a second referendum. It’s been argued by some that the Government could simply pull these Bills. However, this legislation has a real-world purpose to help the country prepare for leaving. The immigration bill will end free movement. The Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill will ensure reciprocal healthcare arrangements can be in place with other countries after exit. How realistic is it for the Government to pull all its Brexit legislation?

A Humble Address
We have seen how the Speaker has colluded with the Opposition frontbench to use the humble address and other parliamentary mechanisms for party political purposes. A Humble Address could call on the Government to release all its information on no deal impacts, to increase pressure. There could be an attempt to stretch the power of a Humble Address – for instance requesting an extension of Article 50 or committing not to leave the EU without a deal or committing to a second referendum.

The opportunities for parliamentary opponents of Brexit in league with a Speaker who is their ally are worrying;

  • Amending the motion for the Meaningful Vote to say that the UK must leave with a deal. The Labour amendment to the Meaningful Vote requires that the UK leaves with a Withdrawal Agreement but not this Withdrawal Agreement. An amendment by Hilary Benn seeks to reject leaving without a Withdrawal Agreement, require the government to bring forward a debate on its proposed way forward, and allow MPs to table amendments to the motion the government is required to bring forward.
  • Debate triggered under s13(4) of the Withdrawal Act. Under the terms of the Withdrawal Act a loss of a meaningful vote must be followed within 21 days by the laying of a statement, and that followed by a further debate within 7 sitting days of the statement. The debate and possibly an amended motion could signal the House’s view that the UK should not leave the EU without a deal.
  • Emergency motions under Standing Order No. 24. The House could make clear in emergency debates called under Standing Order No 24 that the will of the House is that the UK should not leave without a deal or must hold a second referendum.
  • Opposition Day Debates and backbench time. The Opposition could table motions to call on the Government to take action to prevent no deal or hold a second referendum. Backbenchers could use their allocated time to table motions calling on the Government to prevent no deal.

Pro-Brexit MPs who believe the parliamentary die is set for a no deal Brexit are being complacent. The Speaker is intent on stopping that outcome.

mdi-timer 27th December 2018 @ 9:53 am 27th Dec 2018 @ 9:53 am mdi-comment Comments
“Gaston the Turbo-Snail” Invades Parliament

In a sure sign that Parliament is more than ready to break up for Christmas, Home Office minister Victoria Atkins informed the Commons that not only does she have the “most beautiful cat in the world” but that his name is “Gaston the Turbo-Snail”, courtesy of her four-year-old son. Somehow it’s not even the most implausible phrase that’s been uttered in Parliament recently…

UPDATE: A co-conspirator gets in touch with the surprising news that despite the name, Gaston the Turbo-Snail is in fact a female cat…

UPDATE: Guido brings you a photo of Gaston herself:

mdi-timer 20th December 2018 @ 11:31 am 20th Dec 2018 @ 11:31 am mdi-comment Comments
Soubry’s Searing Attack on Bercow

A furious Anna Soubry has torn into John Bercow for his handling of the “stupid woman” incident. Bercow is visibly rattled as he tries to shout down angry MPs. Is his grip finally starting to slip?

mdi-timer 19th December 2018 @ 1:38 pm 19th Dec 2018 @ 1:38 pm mdi-comment Comments
Irony Alert: Brazen Bercow Sends MPs ‘Behaviour Guide’

In a stunningly ironic move, the Speaker has decided to send all MPs a pamphlet entitled “Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House of Commons.” In an accompanying letter he stresses that “This document should serve as a gentle reminder to longer-serving colleagues, or as a useful guide for those others who have recently started the journey on their parliamentary career.” Bercow might do well to “find the time to acquaint [himself] with the content”…

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mdi-timer 18th December 2018 @ 11:14 am 18th Dec 2018 @ 11:14 am mdi-comment Comments
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