Thursday, February 16, 2017

Unfinished business, Conservative MPs have started down a slippery slope as 'Not a single member of Cabinet' will support John Bercow in no confidence vote, their actions now undermine the Chair of the Speaker of the House of Commons and leave any Speaker as ‘fair game’ to a lynch mob of malcontents who can take umbrage for a perceived slight

Dear All

There have been some great Speakers of the House of Commons in the past, the most outstanding person to hold the chair was Betty Boothroyd, now Baroness Boothroyd. Betty Boothroyd served as a Labour MP from 1973 to 1992. From 1992 to 2000, she served with distinction as Speaker of the House of Commons. She was the first, and to date only, the female Speaker of the House of Commons.

A full list of Speakers of the House of Commons can be found on wiki, but for easy, here is the link.

Another great Speaker of the House was The Right Honourable Edward Algernon FitzRoy who served the House during the War years of WW2, he was present when Anthony Edan gave his speech in 1942 on the Holocaust.

Fast forward to present day, we have John Bercow, he was formerly a Conservative MP before becoming the Speaker. As the Labour Party were in their death throes in 2010, they decided to annoy the Conservatives by backing John Bercow as Speaker, this led to the Speaker facing angry Conservatives on the backbenches running little better than a hate campaign against him. David Cameron, the then Prime Minister at the time far from stamping this out allowed it to continue with sanction.

However, it wasn’t always an uphill struggle and here is a clip, I would like you to watch.

David Cameron is now gone, but the anti Bercow brigade in the Conservative ranks still have a ‘score’ to settle, they may feel they have a grievance but their conduct is bring the reputation of the House of Commons and politicising the Chair in a really disastrous way.

The Chair of the House of Commons must be neutral, seen to be neutral and respected by MPs inside and outside the Commons. When Michael Martin was Chair of the House, he allowed his tenure to be tainted by the expenses scandal and eventually was forced out by the Tories. Bercow was the Labour Party’s revenge on the actions of the Tories.

It appears that a Conservative MP James Duddridge, has tabled a "no confidence" motion in the Speaker. Duddridge has a point when he says that it is not for the Speaker to decide who comes to speak to Parliament, this latest incident flared up as Bercow said that President Donald Trump shouldn’t be allowed to speak in Parliament.

Was Bercow in the wrong to make his Trump comments, as an individual, I would say no, but as the Speaker, it was inappropriate to do so. If there is a witch hunt against Bercow, he just gave them a gift. Just before the last election, William Hague tried to force out John Bercow, it was a dirty trick on his way out of Parliament and entirely unworthy of him.

If you never have felt sorry for Bercow before, then view these clips.

Conservative MP Charles Walker’s comment that he would rather be an honourable fool than a clever man was aimed directly at William Hague.

I don’t agree with John Bercow saying that he would bar Donald Trump from addressing Parliament during his planned state visit to the UK.

I also don’t agree with he should have publicly proclaimed himself a ‘remain voter’ in last year’s EU referendum.

The Speaker of the House of Commons must remain neutral, John Bercow has allowed his judgement to be clouded by events, given what has happened and what he has been subjected to this is understandable but not right. When Theresa May assumed the role of Prime Minister, she should have held a private meeting to stamp out the group that feel they are justified in running an open sore in Parliament. This isn’t good for democracy and it isn’t good for the Commons.

Should May and her Cabinet support John Bercow?

This is entirely a matter for their conscience, but I think they should, the wider picture is more important than what is increasingly looking like a petty witch hunt.

Duddridge told BBC Radio 5 Live's Emma Barnett:

"Put it this way, I don't know any Cabinet ministers that aren't supporting me.  I think some people may abstain. I would expect the Prime Minister to abstain. I had expected David Lidington to abstain given that he's a parliamentary neighbour and kind of chief interlocutor with John Bercow as leader of the Commons. But he was quite robust at the weekend about not offering John Bercow his support. I don't think there will be a single member of the Cabinet that will support John Bercow. I've not spoken to every single one but I've spoken to a number of Cabinet ministers, ministers, private secretaries, backbenchers and people from all over the party."

Downing Street position is that they have no position on John Bercow's future, as they kick the ball into the long grass to say that this is a "matter for MPs".

I don’t support Conservative MP James Duddridge who has tabled a "no confidence" motion in the Speaker; I think that Bercow’s Trump comments were unfortunate considering who else has been invited to Parliament.

I suppose the question is do we want to go through the same unedifying spectacle that we all witnessed in 2015 in the House of Commons?  If we do that means a pattern has developed that if a group dislike the Speaker then they are fair game to be picked on and forced out.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

1 comment:

Smudge said...

Sack him,,, mouthy twat anyway.