Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bercow Polarises Opinion

Well, the battle for Speaker is hotting up. And it is John Bercow who is the subject of controversy yet again. Nadine Dorries threatens to try to unseat him after the election, while Jonathan Isaby blogs as to why he should be given the job.

Interestingly Ann Widdecombe's stock seems to be rising. I'm told she did well yesterday at the hustings and a number of Labour MPs seem to be thinking that an interim Speaker might be no bad thing.


Fausty said...

It is an increasingly attractive option. The new wave of Spring 2010 MPs, shorn of much of Labour, would make a more rational choice.

Bercow failed to impress yesterday.

Gaelic Con said...

Bercow's polarisation of opinion is reason enough to exclude him from the job

Anonymous said...

Why don't you just get him deselected from his constituency?

James Hopkins said...

I certainly thought that Ann Widdecombe gave the best performance last night on Newsnight of the five candidates who agreed to go on.

As for Bercow, I liked this sketch by Quentin Letts in The Daily Mail:

"Mr Bercow did not excel yesterday. He spent much of his opening speech spouting historical curiosities with a slightly deranged smirk. He held out his hands like a priest at Communion and spoke in such long sentences that he kept having to do a little burpy thing to draw breath. It was like listening to someone who has just knocked back a whole tin of Irn-Bru in one."

Also this report from Ann Treneman at The Times:

"John Bercow: most irritating. It’s official. Rampaging cows are in the news and, like them, it is clear that Ber-Cows must be avoided too. Sanctimonious didn’t even begin to cover the patronising pitch by this bumptious little Tory. His speech was mystifying. “Eight is the Chinese lucky number,” he announced, “but nine is the more interesting figure.” He told us about nine for a while. Why? Then all became clear. “If I were so fortunate as to be elected Speaker, I would be the youngest holder of the office since 1839!” He is, of course, the favourite."

Pure gold. They sum up my opinion of him quite well. The only reason that Bercow would win is because Labour want to annoy the Tories, which is sad and pathetic beyond words, especially considering the circumstances. Ann is fast becoming my favourite. I can see her as the next Betty Boothroyd. I think she'd be brilliant, and would be a name people had actually heard of.

Anonymous said...

Bercow has certainly convinced Ann Trennaman of the Times that he is definitely the WRONG man for the job.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely nothing has changed at all in Parliament. Complete self interest first.

davefromluton said...

I watched on TV yesterday afternoon.
I thought Widdicombe and Bercow were poor and dire respectively.
If this bunch are the best we can come up with, heaven help us. So time to step forward Iain Duncan Smith!

Means Test ACA said...

"Why don't you just get him deselected from his constituency?"

BEcause he's got an 18K majority. The Tories would support Lisa from Big Brother (The lesbian who looks like a skinny cockerel) if she could bring in that level of support.

Anonymous said...

The country is watching this carry on. Basically it is the political playing spiteful little games on each other. ie the sort of thing that wasn't supposed to happen any more. Disgusting inward looking Westminster crowd.

yet more evidence they regard it as THEIR parliament and the elctorate are just onlookers.

Surely it is obvious that if one person is so controversial then that person will not be acceptable as speaker since the speaker must be acceptable to whole house.

time for the pathetic little games to stop

Anonymous said...


You are assuming that the 18k majority is personal to Bercow which I very much doubt - people in the main vote for party not the actual MP and whoever was the conservative candidate in Buckingham would win the same majority at the polls

This Observer said...

I've just today written a piece about this here.

I argue that regardless of your opinion of the mans politics, the partisan politics being displayed by both major parties show a shocking lack of that "new way of doing politics" that we're all supposed to be getting these days.

Anonymous said...

Why do you bother, Iain?

Margaret Beckett is sure fire to be the new Speaker. Labour would be unable to function at all without their placeman (or should I now say placewoman... placeperson...?)sitting in the Chair of the HoC.

Pete Wass said...

The mere fact that MPs from his own party are openly talking about forcing him out next year would cause any rational person to withdraw to avoid the humiliation.

Anonymous said...

High time the power of appointing the Speaker was taken away from this dsyfunctional bunch of children.

Appointed by public vote for 1 year at a time, not for life- thats ridiculous -and bypass the children altogether.

David from Ealing said...

I remember him when he was a councillor in Streatham. Not very impressive. Mind you, does Nadine Dorries have to be quite so strident in her dislike?

neil craig said...

I think as a matter of self interest MPs should go for Widdicombe. To restore even a bit of credibility someone the public recognise & like would be infinitely prefereable to yet another shop steward in a suit. Note Margaret "I'm just a Labour hack" Beckettis still a suit despite being female.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be thick, but why is John Bercow such a 'controversial' choice ?

He seems amiable and affable enough to me.

Tom said...

I'm really disappointed with the lackluster set of candidates. On that basis I'm absolutely inclined to back Ann Widdecombe because at least she will bring with her a short expiry date.

Alex said...

Bercow's views are not relevant. Has he been a good parliamentarion? Does he have the respect of all sides of the House? Does he deserve it? Are his hands clean on expenses? These are the questions that matter.

Dorries witterings about her fellow Conservative on her blog are unbecoming for an MP. With any lck the whips will take her outside and finish her off.

Widdecombe's idea of an interim Speaker look increasingly impractical. As we saw with Brown's position on the Iraq inquiry, there is no new spirit of openness and transparency in parliament. If they know the Speaker is going to be around for 10 months MPs will drag things out until a new one comes along.

Bearded Socialist said...

To me, the Newsnight hustings went well for Sir Alan Beith and Richard Shepherd. The former for his thoughtful balance, and the latter for his passion. Especially after I thought he was dead and just propped up to make the numbers. In the end, it turned out he had some real fire in his belly for what he believes is right.
The other three were awful

golden_balls said...

I find this all amusing
some tories detest bercow including ian

I just hope enough labour mps go through with the plan lol

Simon Gardner said...

Nadine Dorries is as mad as a box of frogs.

Simon Gardner said...

And John Bercow is my MP. And a jolly huge majority he has too.

jd said...

Typical Dorries. There are many reasons to oppose Bercow. He's an annoying little tit for starters, and that's before getting onto serious matters of policy.

However, the actual reason for Nadine's opposition becomes clear towards the end of her piece - he doesn't agree with her on abortion and therefore he is unfit to be speaker. Oh Yawn.... (though it is amusing to see Nad making an accusation that someone is unsuitable because of their 'strident zealot views' on abortion....)

Lady Finchley said...

Mad Nad really needs to get a grip.

Saffy said...

In light of the poor performance from the "high profile" candidates, surely it is time to look at who would do a good job.

For that reason it has to be Sir Alan Haselhurst.

Anonymous said...

Check out Nardine Dorries's blog.... Is it a forgone conclusion that John Bercow becomes the next speaker...


This is highly recommended reading for all MPs before they vote next Monday.

BushBaby said...

The Speaker should be elected by the people not by self serving politicians with an agenda that has nothing to do with the integrity of the House.
If it is Bercow I am definitely voting for a protest party not the goons currently in the House.

Anonymous said...

More on John Bercow from the MP of courage and integrity, Nadine Dorries. Highly recommended comments.... her observations in the House of Commons today. 17 June 2009. Check out her blog..The devil is in the detail:


Pelagius said...

I'd love to see Bercow elected Speaker. That would be another nail in the coffin of that failing state, the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland. Bercow following Martin; tragedy and farce.

Ingrid Jones said...

Here's the betting so far on next permanent Speaker of the House Of Commons, from William Hill, 18 June 2009.

John Bercow
Ann Widdecombe
Sir George Young
Margaret Beckett
Sir Alan Beith
Sir Patrick Cormack
Richard Shepherd
Parmjit Dhanda
Sir Alan Haselhurst
Michael Lord