An odd moment as the Speaker calls 1922 Committee Chair Graham Brady “Prince Andrew over there” (they look a little alike). Brady is one of the most senior members of the House. What was that about?
Ties are no longer essential for men in the Commons! Watch Mr Speaker give his ruling: pic.twitter.com/dr1TYMlwSU
— BBC Parliament (@BBCParliament) 29 June 2017
Our “modernising” Speaker has overturned convention and ruled that male MPs will no longer be required to wear ties in the Commons. Likewise, the compulsory tie rule has been scrapped for gentlemen of the press gallery. There is near mutiny among the few members of the Lobby with higher dress standards. At least one person will be happy:
The end times… this country really is going to the dogs…
UPDATE: Nigel Farage tells Guido:
“This just goes to show Bercow is a low-grade lightweight with no respect for our institutions or our history.”
Last week the Speaker ruled that MPs can refer to their DUP colleagues as “dinosaurs“, to the dismay of our new orange overlords. Bit of a turnaround from Bercow, who used to be such a fan of their cause. A brief flick through the archive turns up this picture of Bercow at Glasgow Rangers Supporters Club in the late 1980s, a Rangers/red hand, UDA poster behind him, leading the crowd in singing ‘The Sash’. Changed his tune…
With crushing inevitability, John Bercow has told Sky News he is going to break his promise to stand down as Speaker after nine years and instead go on until 2022. Bercow says laughably that “we’re in a very different situation” and that because Theresa May changed her mind about calling an election he is within his rights to change his too. A pitiful excuse even by his standards.
Guido has dug out Bercow’s manifesto circulated to MPs when he ran for Speaker in 2009. Bercow told colleagues that “as a matter of principle” he believed Speakers should not outstay their welcome, and promised that
“if you do me the honour of electing me, I will serve for no longer than two full Parliaments and, in any event, for no more than 9 years in total. I say this because any Speaker should be able to make a mark in that time”
He has gone back on his word, and it is going down very badly among MPs…
Scourge of Bercow James Duddridge tells Guido:
“He said he would only serve until the 22nd June 2018. He has broken his manifesto promise to to go at this date. He is a disgrace and should not be reelected as Speaker if he is returned as an MP. He is a self-serving parasite of the worst order.”
Karl McCartney adds:
“He does not command loyalty across the House, except from those who owe him, and has used up any goodwill any of my colleagues may have had for him in the past.”
And Andrew Bridgen tells Guido:
“Speaker Bercow has already ripped up every page of the rulebook on impartiality, and now he has ripped up his manifesto pledges.”
Another Tory candidate says:
“It is about time Parliament had a truly independent Speaker rather than anymore of this third rate third Labour supporting Speaker. He has brought the exalted position into disrepute with his personal life and opinionated pontifications and his fellow MPs do not like being taken for granted, or for fools.”
Four extra years of Bercow coming up if he wins reelection after June 8. No one will be more annoyed than Chris Bryant and Lindsay Hoyle…
The LibDems are breaking with convention and standing a candidate against the Speaker in his Buckinghamshire seat. John Bercow will face a challenge from Sarah Lowes. He lets everyone treat Tim Farron like the House’s punching bag anyway so the LibDems don’t really have anything to lose standing against him.
— Sarah Lowes (@SarahLowesLD) April 23, 2017
Labour advertised for candidates in Buckinghamshire though Guido is told this is an admin error and the party will not be challenging him. The Tories must be just a little bit tempted…
The snap election has potentially huge consequences for the race to be the next Speaker. The Commons votes to elect a Speaker at the beginning of each parliamentary term – custom dictates that John Bercow be re-elected should he desire to carry on. He has previously said he would serve nine years, taking him to 2018, then that he wanted to stay on until 2020. Bercow has indicated he intends to stand on June 8, so what does that mean for his successor?
Lindsay Hoyle was the overwhelming favourite to be the next Speaker. He had hoped to be appointed before the next election so he wouldn’t have a challenger. Yet Hoyle has a perilous 4,530 majority in Chorley. Labour sources believe anything under 8,000 is under threat. His predecessor in the seat was Tory – Chorley has flip-flopped between Labour and Tory MPs since the war. Chorley voted 57% to Leave the EU. As one MP told Guido last night:
“Lindsay will be feeling rough. He had hoped to be made Speaker before the election. Now he may lose his seat.”
The race to succeed Bercow would be blown wide open…
Remember that Freedom of Information response disclosing that John Bercow had received over 3,000 letters and emails in support of his Trump ban? Guido can reveal the FoI in question was received on 15 February and answered on the very same day. As anyone who regularly fires off FoIs knows, such promptness is highly unusual. Indeed, the authorities admit that the average time taken to respond to FoI requests pertaining to the Speaker is 13 days. Surely the Speaker wouldn’t dream of accelerating the process to rush out a good news story while he was fighting for his career…
Speaker John Bercow splurged more than £11,000 of taxpayer’s money when he hosted human rights abusing Xi Jinping, Guido can reveal. The Chinese leader made a brief visit to parliament during a 2015 state visit when he addressed members of both the Commons and Lords – the honour Bercow last month said he would deny to President Trump. Figures obtained by Guido reveal a full breakdown of the costs involved, including £246 spent on flowers and £1,593 to hire furniture:
Staging, lighting and filming: £9,339.36
Furniture hire: £1,593.60
£11,000 of your cash palling up to a dictator…
This afternoon’s ICM poll is also hugely damning for John Bercow. More Britons think he should resign than think he should stay:
Bercow should stay as speaker because he is doing a good job: 30%
Bercow should resign or be removed as speaker because he’s not impartial: 32%
Don’t know: 38%
Previous Speakers would look at such numbers and fall on their sword…
This text has gone out to Labour MPs today telling them that “usual rules do not apply” and so Labour frontbenchers are free to sign an EDM in support of the Speaker. Frontbenchers are usually unable to sign EDMs. They are determined to save their man…
John Bercow is famous for his love of freebies – he has one of the longest Register of Interests of anyone in parliament. Take the Lawn Tennis Association, from whom he has accepted some £3,000 of hospitality over the last two years. In September 2015 they paid for the Speaker’s tickets to the Davis Cup. Last summer they sponsored him to attend both the Aegon International and the Aegon Championships. In the autumn he was at the Davis Cup again, also courtesy of the LTA, with two free tickets worth £1,385. What does the LTA actually get in return for giving the Speaker all these free tickets? A Freedom of Information reveals Bercow has quite literally returned the favour by hosting members of the LTA’s executive team at a reception at Speaker’s House. Throwing open the corridors of power so execs could glad-hand, lobby and drink wine with politicians in the Speaker’s lavish residence, all paid for by the taxpayer. A bang to rights case of freebies-for-access, the sort of petty abuse of position that causes so many to want Bercow gone…
A close aide to John Bercow – who the Speaker once called his “stalwart” – can be revealed as a Labour supporter who has sent a string of abusive anti-Tory tweets. Tom Tweddle has worked as Bercow’s assistant since 2011, before which he was a researcher for former Labour minister Quentin Davies. His Gareth Snell-style Tory-bashing is apparent from a brief glance at his Twitter account:
All these comments were made during Tweddle’s employment with the Speaker, while he was supposedly helping him in his non-partisan role. Unfortunate timing as Bercow faces questions about his impartiality…
Tory MP Karl McCartney has emailed all MPs making the case for them to sign the Duddridge EDM:
From: MCCARTNEY, Karl
Sent: 14 February 2017 15:15
To: MCCARTNEY, Karl
Subject: Motion of No Confidence in Speaker Bercow
I am contacting you as I am aware a number of colleagues do not normally sign EDMs and so are unaware or unsure of the easy way to support the Motion of No Confidence in Speaker Bercow as put down by our colleague James Duddridge MP.
The recent outburst by the Speaker, unilaterally barring the President of the United States – our closest ally – from addressing Members of Parliament, was a breach of Parliamentary protocol that parallels no others that neither I, nor more senior Members can recall. It was also indicative of a growing trend in politics of people in powerful positions showing contempt for democracy and an electorate who have made their views crystal clear.
The Speaker is the Chief Officer of the highest authority in the House of Commons and must be politically neutral and seen to be neutral at all times. He or she is, ultimately, the referee on the pitch of our proceedings, not a fellow player. Whether you agree with Speaker Bercow’s criticisms of President Trump or not, the very fact that he made those statements in the place and at the time that he did, at all, shows that he is not politically impartial and that his position is now untenable as his lack of neutrality on a number of issues has manifested itself wider than just Parliament.
I hope you will join me in supporting the EDM and Motion of No Confidence in Speaker Bercow and please do email or give me a call if you would like to discuss this further.
Guido understands it already has considerably more support than the Carswell motion against Michael Martin…
James Duddridge’s motion of no confidence against John Bercow has caused Tory MPs to let their feelings be known – Alec Shelbrooke says his position is “untenable”, Karl McCartney has dubbed him the “Jeremy Kyle of Parliament”. Duddridge obviously faces an impossible task in securing a Commons majority against the Speaker thanks to his friends in Labour and the SNP. That he has purely partisan backing will not strengthen his position. The government’s payroll vote is also likely to be directed to abstain. What matters is how the remaining free Tory MPs – who constitute the floating voters – break…
There are 195 Tory MPs who are not on the payroll vote. If a majority of these – 98 Tory MPs – vote for the Duddridge motion, then Bercow will have symbolically lost the confidence of a huge section of the House so much so that they were willing to risk the wrath of the Speaker. A Speaker faced with such a situation in years past would do the decent thing and resign, in fact the men in grey suits would have been to see him if a motion was even proposed, Speaker Martin resigned in 2009 after just 22 signatures. Don’t expect Bercow to do the honourable thing. If he loses the confidence of the free vote vote and clings on he will inevitably end up facing humiliating daily barrackings at Points of Order. The question for the Speaker is – will the Tory non-payroll vote choose to back him or sack him?
Vote of No Confidence
This House has no confidence in The Speaker.
Tory MP James Duddridge tells Sky:
“We want a fresh speaker, a Speaker that has the confidence of the full House… I’ve been absolutely amazed at the number of people who’ve encouraged me to table this motion of no confidence… The number of MPs speaking out will increase and it will be known that the Speaker’s position is untenable.”
Another blow to Bercow’s authority, though he likely has the numbers to cling on…
Here we go: Tory MP James Duddridge writes to Theresa May tonight to ask if she will stand in the way of MPs who want to unseat the Speaker:
8th February 2017
Dear Prime Minister,
Could you confirm that if there is a vote of no confidence in The Speaker of The House of Commons, the Government will not intervene and give Ministers a free vote.
James Duddridge MP
Odds against it succeeding, but the move is on…
H/T Paul Waugh
The Lords Speaker reveals he has secured an apology from John Bercow for failing to consult him on his unilateral Trump ban. Lord Fowler says he keeps an “open mind” about whether Trump should be able to address parliament. Embarrassment for Bercow…
John Bercow had representatives from the authoritarian regimes of North Korea and Vietnam round for tea and charged the bill to the taxpayer, Guido can reveal. On 16 July 2009, the Speaker hosted a reception on the parliamentary estate for the vice chairman of Vietnam’s national assembly, at a cost of £81 to the taxpayer.[…] Read the rest