THE extraordinary decision by John Bercow to rewrite the rules of the parliamentary game risks turning Westminster’s Brexit paralysis into a full-blown constitutional crisis.
Tory Eurosceptics have long suspected that the Commons Speaker, who has trusted to remain impartial in this increasingly poisonous wrangle.
They were dismayed when Mr Bercow postponed his promised retirement last year, insisting his experience was needed.
And they felt their suspicions were confirmed
when he announced his judgment now trumps past custom and practice.
He blithely told MPs: “I understand the importance of precedent, but precedent does not completely bind.
“If we were guided only by precedent, manifestly nothing in our procedures would ever change.”
His actions signalled a major shift in power from the Government to a legislature packed with MPs who voted for the country to stay in the EU in the referendum.
Seething ministers are encouraging Tory backbenchers to launch another bid to unseat him, adding to the chaos.
Mr Bercow may not be too worried about his position but his continued presence in the Speaker’s chair will further toxify the atmosphere. He took up his ancient office nearly a decade ago promising to rebuild public trust after the MPs’ expenses scandal.
If the referendum vote to leave the EU ends up being thwarted, he can expect to retire leaving that trust in ruins.
Speaker John Bercow in the Commons yesterday openly admitted voting Remain in the 2016 referendum, cannot be