YOU’RE SO OUT OF ORDER!
Commons Speaker Bercow accused of flouting rules to thwart Brexit
COMMONS Speaker John Bercow was last night told to quit after “disgracefully” flouting parliamentary rules to help Remainers seize more control over Brexit.
Ex-ministers, constitutional experts and respected former Speaker Betty Boothroyd
united in a chorus of anger over the Commons “stitch-up” that led to a Government defeat.
Mr Bercow faced questions about his impartiality after defying conventions to allow a controversial vote that will force Theresa May’s hand if she fails to win support for her EU exit deal next week. The move floored No 10, which
had been advised against the rules, and led to a “stand-up row” between Chief Whip Julian Smith and Mr Bercow.
And the Commons chamber erupted in jeers as the Speaker claimed he was simply “trying to do the right thing”.
Conservative Marcus Fysh, who sits on the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, said Mr Bercow was no longer fit to hold the office of Speaker.
He said: “It has completely undermined the procedures of the House. He did it because he’s a Remainer.
“I think he is partial and that is a disgrace. What he should do is step down. He needs to think very hard about what he has done today.”
Mr Fysh said Mr Bercow’s actions were a constitutional “nightmare” because he had shown that a Speaker can ignore conventions and “just do what they like”.
Mr Bercow is understood to have defied the advice of impartial officials to allow MPs to vote on an amendment that will force the Prime Minister to return to Parliawarned: ment with a Brexit “Plan B” within three days if her deal is defeated next Tuesday.
The proposal, by Tory former minister Dominic Grieve, a leading Remainer, led to Mrs May’s second defeat in 24 hours after she lost the vote 308-297.
Previously, the Government had three weeks to bring new proposals if it lost the meaningful vote. Baroness Boothroyd said Mr Bercow had failed to “come clean” and be “honest” with the Commons.
She said: “He put clerks in an invidious position. He gave the impression they went along with him. He didn’t come clean with the House.”
Former Tory minister Crispin Blunt said Mr Bercow must now “reflect” on his position, as he was no longer seen as neutral. He “Not least because you gave your opinion and your vote on the issue of Brexit publicly, we will have an unshakeable conviction that the referee is no longer neutral.
“I just invite you to reflect on the conclusion that many of us will have inevitably have come to.” Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom challenged Mr Bercow to produce the “full advice” from Commons clerk Sir David Natzler and others.
The Speaker said he was given guidance “privately, and that’s absolutely proper” and refused to confirm his decision was agreed by Sir David.
Tory MP David Morris leapt to his feet and repeatedly demanded “Publish it!” and Brexiteer Mark Francois called Mr Bercow’s defence “utter sophistry”.
To Tory jeers, Mr Bercow insisted: “I’m trying to do the right thing and make the right judgments.
“That is what I have tried to do and what I will go on doing.”
The vote followed Tuesday’s Government defeat on a motion to limit its powers to change taxes if there was a no-deal Brexit. The row
erupted at the start of five days of Commons debate after Mrs May pulled a vote on her plans last month.
The Prime Minister’s dramatic move followed a warning by whips that she was facing certain defeat.