Bercow Ends May’s Last Hope In Amendment Selection

John Bercow has slapped down May’s hopes of winning over sceptical backbenchers with Andrew Murrison’s amendment, by not sdelecting it to be voted on. The four he has selected instead are:

  • Jeremy Corbyn Rejects the deal because it does not meet Labour’s criteria, including a customs union and strong single market relationship. Says government should “pursue every option” for avoiding no-deal or leaving on the terms of May’s deal.
  • Sir Edward Leigh States that a permanent backstop would constitute a change in circumstances compared to those in the Withdrawal Agreement and that this would give the UK the right to withdraw from it. Asks the government to confirm it would do so if this was the case.
  • John Baron Also says the deal should only be approved if the UK has the right to exit the backstop without the agreement of the EU.
  • Ian Blackford Rejects the deal, citing opposition from the devolved assemblies, and calls for an extension of Article 50.

These amendments will be voted on from 7pm. If, as expected, none of them pass, then the we can expect the meaningful vote to take place at 8pm, with the result at around 8:15. Get your popcorn ready…

Former NI Assembly Speaker Calls for Bercow to “Seriously Consider His Position”

Former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly Willie Hay has told BBC Radio Ulster that Bercow has lost the trust of many in Parliament and is no longer seen to be acting impartially. Lord Hay then called on the Speaker to “consider his position.” His is an authoritative voice. Bercow has clearly abandoned any pretence of impartiality and those who continue to defend him are doing so for their own political interests…

Boothroyd: Bercow’s Behaviour “Disgusting”, “Absolute and Utter Disgrace”

Bercow’s brazen behaviour has not just been infuriating Tory MPs, earlier today the highly respected former Speaker Baroness Boothroyd was overheard in the corridors of Parliament reportedly telling a senior Tory MP that Bercow’s actions were “disgusting” and an “absolute and utter disgrace”. Guido’s well-placed source says the esteemed Baroness looked visibly shocked at the events unfolding…

One Tory MP is adamant that several pages of what looked to be Parliamentary guidance were removed from the desk in the Commons and taken away during the lengthy Points of Order session where Bercow was repeatedly challenged. Whatever they were, we will never know now…

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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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…

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 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’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. In the event he has anything to say on his future plans, he will make an announcement to the House first.”

Still waiting…

Sally Bercow: We’re Not Packing Our Bags Yet

Welcome back to Twitter to Sally Bercow, whose return has been verified by her lawyer David Allen Green. Sally is picking up where she left off, starting with a vocal defence of Brexit-hating rebels Dominic Grieve and Lord Moat:

Plenty of tweets and retweets accusing Number 10 of lying about Brexit and Theresa May of “dangerous, anti-democratic nonsense”:

She is also clearly enjoying trolling Bercow critic James Duddridge and insists the Speaker isn’t going anywhere:

Good to have you back, Sally…

SNP Leader Kicked Out of Commons

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford deliberately gets himself suspended from the Commons with a naff stunt at PMQs. The rest of the Nats then walked out in protest as Bercow floundered and completely lost control. Oh well. Bye!

Serjeant-at-Arms: Bercow Victim of “Witch Hunt”

The senior official responsible for security and order in the House of Commons has dismissed bullying allegations against John Bercow and said the Speaker is the victim of a “witch hunt”. The extraordinary intervention in defence of beleaguered Bercow by Serjeant-at-Arms Kamal El-Hajji is published in the official Commons mag, The Housethis morning. El-Hajji wrote:

“There has recently been article after article in the daily newspapers containing speculation and accusations regarding Mr Speaker’s code of conduct and the allegedly ‘unprofessional’ way that he treats staff and colleagues working in Parliament. Due to a considerable lack of evidence supporting these allegations, it seems clear to me that there is a witch hunt against him, whether it is coming from previously disgruntled staff members or ex-colleagues trying to settle old scores of some kind.

“…we feel that there is a witch hunt going on trying to discredit Mr Speaker… I felt it’s important to stand up for what is right and to show support and solidarity to someone who has done such a great deal for Parliament and for the country.”

El-Hajji was selected for the job in 2015 by a panel of MPs headed by Bercow – he would not have got the job without the Speaker’s approval. Nice way to pay him back…

El-Hajii’s defence does not address any of the actual bullying allegations, which are extensive. It is in stark contrast to comments made by former Black Rod David Leakey, who said Bercow was unworthy of the office of Speaker. How can bullying and harassment victims have any confidence in Parliament after this display?

UPDATE: A government source condemns the Sarjeant-at-Arms: “He should be neutral in all of this. It’s really beyond unprofessional.” 

Bercow “Stupid Woman” Complaint Rejected

John Bercow will not face a standards probe after he called Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom a “stupid woman –  because only he can rule on conduct in the Chamber. Yep, seriously…

Standards chief Kathryn Stone said the issue was outside her remit as she rejected a complaint against Bercow made by Tory MP James Dudderidge, who listed the excuses given for not investigating the Speaker and told Guido:

“It is ludicrous that bullying allegations cannot be investigated because they are 7 years old, because an NDA was signed, because it was in the chamber, because it was a currently member of staff or because the person bullied is so traumatised. Enough is enough”

Bercow later acknowledged the outburst but failed to apologise. Bercow is judge and jury when it comes to his own behaviour, the system is broken…

Bercow Confesses: I Did Call Leadsom Stupid

The Speaker admits:

“I used the word stupid in a muttered aside. That adjective simply summed up how I felt.”

Doesn’t address whether he used the sexist term “stupid woman”. Doesn’t apologise. Not a good look…

Lobbyist Sheerman’s Shameless Bercow Mansplaining

Guido knows it is well into rosé hour on a sunny Friday afternoon, but Labour dinosaur Barry Sheerman is being particularly incoherent over on Twitter. Sheerman began by launching a bold defence of the Speaker and calling for Leadsom to resign instead, only to be called out for mansplaining by Ruth Davidson:

Sheerman then got very confused about the basic facts, suggesting the Leadsom-Bercow row happened in a private meeting and not in the Commons:

He then made up a fake “inside source”:

Sheerman was the first serving MP to register as a lobbyist. He abuses his position to shill for products directly linked to his lobbying activities. This mad conflict of interest should obviously not be allowed to happen, Sheerman has got away with it because the Speaker has not cracked down on him. Now Sheerman is returning the favour, as pro-Bercow Labour MPs continue to make a mockery of parliament’s response to bullying. Step away from the keyboard, Barry.

PM: Bercow’s Behaviour “Unacceptable”

Number 10 twist the knife into Bercow:

“PM has seen the alleged remarks and clearly thinks they are unacceptable. If a complaint is made then it should be fully investigated.”

Could the Speaker’s time finally be up?

WATCH: Moment Bercow Flipped Out at Leadsom

This is the moment John Bercow allegedly called Andrea Leadsom a “stupid woman” and “f***ing useless” on Wednesday. In an extraordinarily bad-tempered rant, even by the Speaker’s standards, Bercow eyeballs Leadsom and admonishes her in a particularly aggressive manner. Leadsom is so unimpressed at Bercow’s macho behaviour that she deliberately looks away and refuses to make eye contact.[…] Read the rest

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Jacob Rees Mogg writes

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