Saturday, February 26, 2011

Government Ministers pave the way for secret vote to oust the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, MPs disgrace Parliament by pettiness

Dear All

The position of Speaker in the House of Commons is supposed to be a highly respected position.

Unfortunately the current Speaker John Bercow and the previous Speaker Michael Martin have soiled that position.

Labour MP Michael Martin was the first Speaker in 300 years to be ousted and quite rightly so.

He wasn’t so much the Speaker of the House rather he made himself the ‘Shop steward’ of the House.

His conduct during the Expenses Scandal by blocking information was a disgrace as was him getting a peerage.

As much as I like to see working class people rise in society, he didn’t have the intelligence to rise with it.

He has put back the cause of working class people achieving high office.

After he was forced to quit, the Labour Party as part of a scorched earth policy decided to act unprofessionally by delivering to the Tories what I can only describe as ‘F*ck you’ by voting in John Bercow.

Tit for tat!

Tories had run a campaign against Martin and this was their payback by Labour MPs.

Instead of Bercow being a safe pair of hands, he has proven to be problematic at best.

And the conduct of his wife a Labour MP in posing in a bed sheet disgraced Parliament, she thought it was 'fun'.

Tradition is important; standards are important and exercising good self judgement.

Now, Government Ministers have given the green light to a new attempt by MPs to oust Commons Speaker John Bercow.

Members of the Cabinet have revealed they will cooperate with a plan to change Parliamentary rules so the Speaker can be kicked out by secret ballot.

And I would suspect that if Bercow was put to a vote, he wouldn’t have much in the way of support.

The reason for the secret ballot is to allow MPs to remove the unpopular Speaker without them having to put their heads above the parapet.

There is a lot of anti Bercow feeling and discontent in the House of Commons; he is accused of bias against the Tories.

And they by their actions fuel this feud which should have been stamped out by David Cameron and wasn’t, he allowed it to fester.

Conservative Party managers have decided to give MPs a free vote on plans to change the rules and bring in a secret ballot.

MPs on the procedure committee are expected to bring forward a motion to change the rules before the summer recess.

Backbenchers could then use the Commons backbench business committee to demand the Government provides Parliamentary time for a debate and vote on the motion.

The committee controls the subject for Commons debate on 35 days a year, and was recently used to force the vote on prisoner voting rights. If the latest motion is passed as most MPs expect it to be the way would be clear for a challenge to Mr Bercow.

However, who to replace Bercow with?

This isn’t as easy as it sounds, there isn’t a clear candidate hanging about the green benches who stands out.

Isn’t it time that the position of Speaker wasn’t held by an MP?

The position of Speaker has been lower by the conduct of Michael Martin and John Bercow and the antics of MPs generally.

We need someone of the calibre of Betty Boothroyd, unfortunately such talent is very thin on the ground.

The current situation with Bercow is untenable, partly his fault, partly party leaders and whips.

It is a disgrace that they have destroyed such a position of authority.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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