Bercow may as well have had ‘B******* to Brexit’ pinned on his puffed-up chest
THERE are precious few occasions that can ever justify an MP challenging the Commons Speaker. But l ast week I sadly found myself doing just that. I still believe I was right to do so. ‘Publish it!’ I yelled at John Bercow.
I was challenging our Remainvoting Speaker to come clean on what advice he had received from the Commons Clerk before deciding to trash established procedure and allow a Brexit-defying vote to be taken.
I felt my rights had been eroded, along with those of my constituents and fellow MPs, whatever their political colour.
The Commons had yet to receive a written clarification from Mr Bercow, though he proclaimed he acted in our best interests by granti ng t he amendment t abled by Dominic Grieve.
Mr Bercow was flouting timehonoured Commons precedents by creating a ‘one-off’ rule, abandoning constitutional convention and compromising his role as t he impartial Speaker. He also ignored expert advice from Commons Clerk Sir David Natzler, who knows these rules intimately.
Why? Well, it appears that Mr Bercow wants to do everything he can to thwart the result of the referendum by enabling another humiliating defeat for the Government – without any warning.
Mr Bercow denies claims that his car displays a ‘B******s to Brexit’
sticker, saying the vehicle belongs to his wife. But it might as well be stuck firmly to his puffed-up chest on this occasion.
The Speaker is there to serve the elected Commons without prejudice. He should not override House business and act as our master. It’s like a cricket umpire who, halfway through the game, invents a new method of dismissal to suit the losing side – especially if the batsman happens to be Theresa May.
The Prime Minister is trying to secure a workable Brexit agreement in the full spirit of what the people called for in the referendum. We all know the polarised emotions and debates, but we as a nation voted Leave and that must be honoured and delivered.
It is what Mrs May is committed to doing and now is the time for the Speaker to uphold the set procedures of the Commons and not perform a ‘one-off’ to suit himself. His actions have done little to bring the country together and will be catastrophic if they are repeated.
This is a man who shed his Rightwing principles as a Tory MP to win the post of Speaker in 2009 largely on the back of Labour votes.
Judging from the cheers from the Opposition benches last week, it appeared he was repaying those Labour votes.
By tradition, Speakers give up their party affiliation to serve the whole House. At this important time for the nation, he should not only be apolitical, but also bring the MPs together.
Mr Bercow indicated in 2009 that he would serve for nine years. His self- imposed time has expired. Most of my colleagues feel he has betrayed his historic office and that the Prime Minister should deny him the traditional peerage offered to retiring Speakers. He can hardly object to breaking precedent after lecturing us last week that if past practice was never overturned, nothing would ever change.
By those same standards of creating a ‘one-off’, if Mr Bercow should again seek to stand as MP for Buckingham, he should be denied the traditional sitting Speaker’s privilege of not facing candidates from the main parties.
Should Mr Bercow seek to bend the rules again this week to appear to serve his own or the Opposition’s agenda, I will have no hesitation in standing up and protesting in the strongest manner.
I swore to uphold the wishes of my community and the people of our nation; a repeat of the Speaker’s actions will be seen as violation of my constituents’ rights.
But this time I suspect many Tory colleagues will stand with me to uphold our precious democracy and honour the interests of the people who voted for Brexit.