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.
It seems Chris Philp let his temper get the better of him in the Commons yesterday. After (reluctantly) yielding his time at the despatch box, Guido thought he heard the Under Secretary for Justice mutter something less than respectful of the Speaker under his breath. The audio is slightly muffled, so Guido asks: what do you think he said?
New speaker Lindsay Hoyle is taking his time to move in to the Speaker’s House, and with good reason, Guido understands. The entire luxury residence is having to undergo an intense deep clean after a decade of inhabitation by Bercow. Guido hears much of the ornate Pugin furniture has been scratched by cats, and the place is in such a bad state that one table has had to be removed entirely because it is so damaged. Did Bercow’s anger get the better of his furniture..?
New Speaker Sir Lindsay has confirmed he will ban MPs trying to tear up the Commons rule book in future, and reverse Bercow’s reforms that allowed Remain MPs to block Brexit. Against the advice of constitutional experts at the time…
Speaking on Nick Robinson’s Political Thinking Podcast, Hoyle said his approach will make it much harder for a future House of Commons to resist the government of the day; specifically around whether MPs can amend business motions that set the way in which the Commons structures its debates.
Looking to restore public trust in the role of the Speaker, he has promised to tidy up, clarify and close the loopholes of the Commons rulebook, so “nobody could accuse the Speaker” of anything. Is it any wonder remainers wanted Harriet ‘continuity Bercow’ Harman to win on Monday…
Shailesh Vara has dropped out the speakership election just hours before MPs are expected to start voting.
In a Tweet confirming the move, Vara said he didn’t want to split the vote and would be backing Lindsay Hoyle.
Grateful to many MPs across the House who pledged support for me to be the next Speaker. Sadly, I have concluded I don’t have the numbers to win
So as not to split the vote I am withdrawing from the contest and will support @LindsayHoyle_MP Thanks again to those who supported me
— Shailesh Vara MP (@ShaileshVara) November 4, 2019
Following Vara’s pulling out, and Sir Henry Bellingham withdrawing on Friday, there are 7 candidates remaining on the ballot paper this afternoon:
We should know by 8pm tonight…
Sir Henry Bellingham has withdrawn from the speakership race. His concession letter emphasises the importance of cross-party support. Whispers are this is a tacit endorsement of Lindsay Hoyle, who is expected to pick up most of Bellingham’s second preference votes…
Read his letter to MPs in full here: