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.

PMQs: Special Delivery

“Ding dong!” That was odd, thought Theresa. Who could it be at this time? She didn’t remember ordering anything. Bemused, she pottered over to the door and cautiously opened it up. A wispy old man dressed strangely like a delivery boy was shuffling from foot to foot on the doorstep. “What is it?” she asked. “Err, I’ve got a pizza for Theresa,” he mumbled, nervously reading from a piece of paper. “To share with Esther and Penny?” How very strange, Theresa puzzled. She had invited Esther and Penny over to play checkers, but both of them had turned her down, muttering something about “being dead”. They had been doing rather a lot of socialising this week, she supposed…

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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…

Corbyn’s PMQs Pizza Gag

A reasonably well-executed gag about pizza from Corbyn after grilling the PM on whether Chequers is dead or not…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Mrs Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall) (Conservative) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 17 October.
Q2 Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak) (Labour)
Q3 Alex Norris (Nottingham North) (Labour)
Q4 Ian C. Lucas (Wrexham) (Labour)
Q5 Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Conservative)
Q6 Mr Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland) (Lib Dem)
Q7 Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP)
Q8 Sir Patrick McLoughlin (Derbyshire Dales) (Conservative)
Q9 Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay) (Conservative)
Q10 Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden) (Labour)
Q11 Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton) (Conservative)
Q12 Jamie Stone (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) (Lib Dem)
Q13 Simon Hoare (North Dorset) (Conservative)
Q14 Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Conservative)
Q15 Alan Mak (Havant) (Conservative)

Comments in the comments…

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…

Watch Live: PM’s Brexit Statement in the Commons

May makes her statement, wearing white…

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

Serjeant-Not-At-Arms

Swords were out in the House of Commons last night as the Serjeant at Arms Kamal El-Hajji had an embarrassing moment on the way to removing the Mace. El-Hajji is familiar with dropping things – he last made headlines in June by saying that “witch hunt” bullying claims against John Bercow should be dropped. Not his sharpest moment…

When Will PMQs Be Over?

“When will austerity be over for the owl catchers? When will austerity be over for the sausage sellers? When will austerity be over for the dog food tasters?” Corbyn droned monotonously through his list of people who hadn’t got anything nice from mean old Theresa in a while. The only question on anyone else’s mind was “When will PMQs be over?” Half the Labour backbenchers didn’t stick around to find out. Vince Cable didn’t even bother turning up to witness a PMQs that made his own speeches look positively Churchillian. They made the right call…

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Ken Clarke Calls Colleagues “Right Wing Nationalists”

Tory Remoaner-in-Chief Ken Clarke took the opportunity of PMQs to call vast swathes of his parliamentary colleagues “right wing nationalists.” Guido isn’t sure this is the best way to win the hearts and minds of said colleagues…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) (SNP) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 10 October.
Q2 Caroline Flint (Don Valley) (Labour)
Q3 Mr Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland) (Lib Dem)
Q4 Jim McMahon (Oldham West and Royton) (Labour)
Q5 Mrs Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire) (Conservative)
Q6 Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon) (Conservative)
Q7 Peter Grant (Glenrothes) (SNP)
Q8 Mr Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley) (Labour)
Q9 Anna McMorrin (Cardiff North) (Labour)
Q10 Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton) (Conservative)
Q11 Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Conservative)
Q12 Henry Smith (Crawley) (Conservative)
Q13 Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North) (Independent)
Q14 Ms Karen Buck (Westminster North) (Labour)
Q15 Emma Dent Coad (Kensington) (Labour)

Comments in the comments…

Abbott Again Refuses to Withdraw IRA Comments

Diane Abbott again refused to withdraw her IRA supporting statement that “every defeat of the British state is a victory for all of us” in the House of Commons yesterday, insisting that it had simply been “taken out of context.”

Famously she refused to withdraw her comments on the Andrew Marr Show last year stating only that she doesn’t hold the same views now, and that “it was 34 years ago. I had a rather splendid afro at the time.”

Guido doesn’t quite understand how her comments could have been “taken out of context”…

PMQs: Temporal Rift Edition

All across the House of Commons MPs looked around confused, almost concerned. What was that tremendous racket going on in the middle of the room? Had some devious backbenchers snuck up to the Despatch Box to play a noisy prank? Had the session been so soporific that they had fallen asleep and missed both parties deposing their leaders, holding leadership elections and installing charismatic replacements in their place? Had the combined wrath of the ERG and Momentum summoned up two demons from another dimension who were now engaged in a never-ending battle to the death, while opening up a temporal rift which had transported the entire building back in time to 2007? As the MPs were about to find out, sometimes fact can be stranger than fiction. May and Corbyn were actually having a decent battle at PMQs…

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Mumbling McDonnell Massacres Message to May

 

John McDonnell experienced a dose of no deal chaos himself at the despatch box at Treasury Questions today:

“So let me put this to the Chancellor – can we both try to get the message across to the Prime Minister, who continues to insist that no deal is better than… no deal is better than… no, a bad deal… no deal… to insist that a bad deal is better than no deal – I’ll negotiate that again Mr Speaker – who continues to insist that a bad deal is better than no deal…”

McDonnell tried to get the message across. He certainly didn’t succeed. He didn’t even get it right at the sixth and final attempt…

Over Half Tory MPs’ Voting Intentions Now Identified

Guido’s MP Voting Intentions Tracker has identified where more than half of Government supporting MPs stand on Chequers. Overnight readers have helped track down another 11 MPs who are opposed to the Prime Minister’s Chequers proposal, bringing the total number up to 44. Still a way off the 80 MPs Steve Baker was talking of yesterday, keep those names coming in…

To see the full sheet, click here. To notify us of an amendment use this form.

Strictly PMQs

It’s a rare breed of masochist that looks forward to PMQs in the May-Corbyn era, after 45 minutes trapped in the purgatory of the BBC’s new Chuka Umunna Show Politics Live show, the prospect of Corbyn chuntering out pre-scripted lines on the NHS for social media clips interspersed by “Wales” from Theresa May suddenly started to look like a more appealing prospect. Would Jezza be leading us through the pearly gates or down into a fresh circle of PMQs hell?

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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…

Corbyn: We Condemn The Police

“We condemn… we condemn the police and security services… commend the police and security services.”

Looks like a lifetime of saying the former made it harder to say the latter…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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No prizes for guessing who Andrea Leadsom is talking about:

“As you said last week, Mr Speaker, we have a responsibility to safeguard the rights of this House and as Leader of the House I seek to do exactly that, treating all members of parliament with courtesy and respect. I hope and expect all Honourable and Right Honourable members to do likewise.”

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