Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Bercow & McLoughlin At War
Scroll in to 22.16.30
There was a very ugly altercation last night between Speaker Bercow and the Government Chief Whip, Patrick McLoughlin. It arose after ten pm when the Speaker appeared to help Labour in objecting to a Bill. The Labour whip had shouted "object" at the wrong point and the Speaker then motioned to the whip to shout it at the correct point. Patrick McLoughlin leapt from his seat and said something inaudible to the Speaker, clearly of a not wholly complimentary nature, and then made as if to leave the chamber. The Speaker admonished him in an extremely aggressive manner as you will see if you watch the video. Click HERE and scroll in to 22.16.30.
There were a lot of MPs in the chamber at the time, particularly from the 2005 intake, and I am told it was the first time they had witnessed such a scene. One of them wondered to me if the Speaker would have helped a Conservative whip in such a situation.
It is very unhealthy for a Speaker to be constantly at odds with one of the parties. The ill feeling is becoming apparent all too often. On the Speaker's side he seems to come down far heavier on Tory MPs than others - which is also being remarked upon by Labour MPs, but it is also unhealthy to have the Prime Minister making jokes at the Speaker's expense.
I fear this may all end in tears.