Saturday, May 23, 2009

Is Sir Alan About to Overtake Bercow?

I see John Bercow has done a Hazel Blears and decided to voluntarily pay Capital Gains Tax on a property he sold some time ago. Will that 'do' for his Speakership prospects? Maybe, maybe not. But I am told the Sunday papers will not make happy reading for him tomorrow.

This time last week it became the received wisdom that the prospects of Sir Alan Haselhurst had been damaged by his appearance in the Daily Telegraph Hall of Shame. Yet since then, with Frank Field being the only exception, virtually all the other leading contenders for the Speakership have also had their own problems with their expenses - Sir George Young, Sir Alan Beith, Sir Ming Campbell.

I wonder whether Sir Alan's erstwhile supporters who had thought about deserting him are now having second thoughts and returning to his fold. So far as I can see he is the Tory candidate with the best chance of getting support across the House.


strapworld said...



Total claims 2005-08 (excluding travel)

Liam Byrne £ 478,536

Joan Ryan £ 469,893

Dan Norris £ 450,985

Shahid Malik £ 446,314 LABOUR

Charlotte Atkins £ 443,244 LABOUR

David Wilshire £ 438,377 TORY

Tom Levitt £ 436,686

Diana Johnson £ 436,632 LABOUR

Fabian Hamilton £ 435,999 LABOUR

Jacqui Smith £ 434,909 LABOUR

Margaret Moran £ 434,456 LABOUR

Ian Austin £ 434,409

A. Rosindell £ 434,149

Andrew George £ 434,062 LIBDEM

Dawn Butler £ 433,865 LABOUR

Roger Godsiff £ 433,298 LABOUR

Tim Farron £ 433,260

Peter Hain £ 431,905

Norman Lamb £ 431,683 LIBDEM

S. Hesford £ 431,527

Source: The Sunday Times 17.05/09

Anonymous said...

Perfect excuse for Cameron to stop Bercow getting anywhere near the Speaker spot right now.

I'm not sure i can trust Bercow, he seems to blow wherever the wind does, not that stable.

Anonymous said...

Tim Farron,,,,Labour.

A Freudian slip for our (Westmorland & Lonsdale) LibDem MP that, surely, is nearer the truth than is normally recognised.

Guthrum said...

Frank Field, the only Labour man I have any time should walk this.

Out of all the 'candidates' he is the only one with an ounce of integrity.

So that probably means he has very little chance.

TrueBlueBlood said...

Frank Field would be a great choice.

Iain, on a seperate note, loved Total Politics mag this month. Your interview with Cherie Blair was class. Felt I got to know a little more of the real woman. Nice work.

Also loved the article by John Shosky 'The Traits of the Greats'. As you may have seen I did a blog on the great orators and Shosky's article really details traits in great speeches.

So overall...loving Total Politics. Hope as readership builds you are able to add more pages.

Anonymous said...

Sir Alan gets my vote - the Telegraph did him a great disservice by not running his response which clearly addressed the allegations. Anyone who knows him can confirm he is beyond reproach when it comes to sleaze

Paul Burgin said...

I think that MP's from across the parties should take a gulp and support Frank Field. Its cleaness and competence that is needed and therefore petty prejudices should be swept aside

Anonymous said...

Sea Shanty Irish here:

Strapworld, thanks for list. Was wondering about who was on this particular table. Disgusting for true Labour supporters (both Old and New).

Iain, why didn't you discuss Sir Alan along with other runners for the Speakership last night, aside from Bercow & Widdecombe?

One question I have re: Hazelhurst, is this: isn't he part of the Old Guard in the H of C that is responsible (on a nonpartisan basis) for the current trainwreck? I mean, he's been a deputy speaker ever since the Ark landed. Beside that, he'd be a natural choice.

BUT it wasn't just Mick Martin what done it!

BTW, just learned about Nadine Dorries MP being knocked off the blogosphere.

Granted, it's in her own best interest right now, to NOT have a medium for every thought that enters her head.

BUT to censor her, that is a crime in my eyes, far worse than anything she posted. And it's an issue that should be divorced from her questionable expense claims.

Indeed, it illustrates the danger here. That in the zeal to stake the culprits out in the Wapping muck at the next high tide, Britons should be wary of running roughshod over Parliament.

The goal should be to strengthen Parliament and parliamentarians of all parties, or none. NOT to weaken the institution or its members.

Plato said...

I'd rather see Frank as a GOAT and be SoS for DWP.

Is that enough acronyms?

Pete said...


We're having trouble in finding an honest Tory person to be Speaker?

If an interim Speaker is part of the solution, I think Widdy should be the one.

On the other hand, if it is deemed that permanent Speaker be appointed now, I would let Labour have their third Speaker in a row and install Frank Field.

The Frankenfurter for King and Country said...

Frank Field is the man!

The Frankenfurter for King and Country!

brian in the tamar valley said...

Assuming that Gordon Brown is still PM after the new speaker takes office I would love to hear him or her utter the words "The Prime Minister must answer the question" at PMQs, words that never seem to have passed Mr Martin's lips!

Plato said...

Rifkind gets my vote.

Terribly full of himself but great orator.

The Speaker role would suit all of us!

Shame Shepherd sounds like he's about to cry - he'd be a FAB Speaker on the principle front.

Paul Halsall said...


I don't see how in this hubbub Sir Alan has any real prospect of acceptance by the public. I can't believe I am writing this, but Anne Widecombe would.

Meanwhile, this week has been a catastrophe for the Tories as now at last seems to have been noted on Tory blogs.

Anonymous said...

And things were going so well for the Tory chipmunk.

The Facepalm said...

Fantastic blog! Keep going on! Damn!

Anonymous said...

I believe that Sir Alan is the second from the left in this photograph

Anonymous said...

If Bercow is even in the running, then any Tory with a smidgeon of dirt on the poison dwarf should be passing it to the press. Here's hoping tomorrow's papers are extremely painful for him -his removal from Parliament would be a victory for the Conservative Party.

strapworld said...

For those interested in putting all this into some perspective.

A list in full!

Anonymous said...

One has to wonder if the left hand of the Telegraph knows what its right hand is doing.

Whilst the front pages are full of MPs wasting peanuts, Booker on the inside points out that the govt (rubber stamped by a dopey parliament) has admitted it is committed to spending huge sums in reducing our carbon output, all in the name of reducing bogus global warming. (its admission is sneaked out on a website BTW)

Want to know how much??

£404 billion - thats BILLION. 18 billion a year for 4 decades! They're avin a laff ....

Booker points out that Spain has lost 2 jobs for every 'green' job created.

Wake up you lot. Will any new MPs be any better at recognizing sheer lunacy when they see it? Will YOU demand that they are? Are YOU any more compos mentis?

Anonymous said...

"We're having trouble in finding an honest Tory person to be Speaker?" -- there are not a great number of Tories in parliament.

From that you need to find someone from the backbenches of age experience to be speaker. And be acceptable to the labour majority.

The only people suggesting the nondescript Bercow who on a range of counts is not qualified, are labour because he is a left wing tory

ItsFairComment said...

The only person who is fit to be the next Speaker is Frank Field - The only MP who has the trust of the public intact after 30 years. Bercow would have jumped ship to Labour, but for the fact of Labour's demise. I am pleased that it's his turn up on the Telegraph et al.

Shakassoc said...

Richard Shepherd would make a wonderful Speaker. Can't understand why he isn't the obvious choice.

jailhouselawyer said...

Frank Field is a banker...

Anonymous said...

I don't see why people are still talking about Frank Field being a viable candidate? There is clearly no chance of him winning sizeable support amongst Labour MPs.

I have to agree with Iain on this one, Sir Alan would make a very good SPEAKER regardless of the Daily Telegraph's article on him

Alex said...

Sorry, but where has Sir George Young been shown to have claimed expenses outside the spirit of the rules? Bercow seems to be reconsidering his capital gains tax position, Haselhurst paid for his gardener, and Ming Campbell made some equally questionable claims, but I am not aware of any serious criticism of the Chairman of the Standards & Priviledges Committee. Please enlighten me if you you koow otherwise.

Iain Dale said...

Read the Telegraph. They did him on the same day as Alan Beith. Think it was yesterday actually.

Anonymous said...

I have said it before; will say it again. Frank Field for Speaker. But he appears to be the choice of the public, and these beggars in Parliament have never taken notice of the public before.

Alex said...

"Iain Dale said...
Read the Telegraph. They did him on the same day as Alan Beith. Think it was yesterday actually."

I read that, but it didn't say anything other than the fact that he claimed for the interest on an apartment in Victoria. Pretty much the full amount, but apart from that nothing dodgy. He employs a daughter to run his London office, but that is pretty kosher and she has been doing it for yonks.

Major Plonquer said...

As a big fan of crossword anagrams I feel it is my duty to point out that having a choice between 'John Simon Bercow' and 'Sir Alan Haselhurst' is asking to having to choose between 'Microbe John Snow' and 'Arsenal Hurls a Shit'.

Either of the above would obviously be preferable to 'Speaker Frank Field' (Pink-arse Freak Fled).

Anonymous said...

David Heath maybe?

Iain Dale said...

Alex, so about the same as Alan then.

cassandra said...

The incoming Tory administration could solve the financial crisis caused by newlabour straight away, first scrap the insanely expensive carbon dioxide witch hunt fiasco, its a harmless trace gas that is in fact essential to life on earth, secondly scrap the QUANGO gravytrain saving tens of billions and best of all if all these QUANGOs were scrapped nobody would notice.

There you go right there, at least a few hundred billion pounds saved and thats without trying!
The fly in the ointment is of course neither of those things will be done and we will nose dive into second world oblivion, well at least we wont be able to see it because we will be without power for most of the time!

Anonymous said...

It is impossible to pay voluntary tax. All that can happen is that the money will be lodged in an account from where it can be set against future tax liabilities. See Ben Brogran

Anonymous said...

So many plundering MP’s trying to spin their way out of the shitstorm.

One thing is common in all MP’s statements, watch this closely!

“A complete overhaul of the system”

= Pay rise to makeup for the fiddles & scams we’ve lost.

MP's current pay in the top 3% (1% if you count pension package).

Alex said...

"Iain Dale said...
Alex, so about the same as Alan then."

Not at all. Haselhurst was fingered by the Telegraph for claiming £140k for his second home, despite not having a mortgage on the property, including billing £249 a month (£1 less than the amount for which a receipt is required), and claiming "thousands" for food at his main home. It is hard to see that the £140k is really "maintenance" unless the gold plated bath taps need constant up keep.

Being otherwise impartial (both are probably too old for the job), George Young's claims look relatively modest.

Haselhurst has played the system to much to clean it up, whereas Young has been relatively timid as Chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee.

Anonymous said...

Sir Alan Haselhurst's explanation of his claims:

Seems to make quite a good case? Although obviously the "It was within the rules" argument is universally disliked.

Nigel said...

Rifkind might have made a very decent Speaker in less troubled times (and looks pretty clean on the expenses front), but is he a little too urbane ?

One of the reasons Frank Field appeals is that he is not averse to making a nuisance of himself.

Alex said...

Anonymous said...
"Seems to make quite a good case? Although obviously the "It was within the rules" argument is universally disliked."

Not really. The objection in the telegraph seemed to be on the basis of the quantum of the claims which are not addressed. £140,000 is a lot for just maintenance of any house.

His problem is that he owns the constituency house without a mortgage, He would have been within the rules if he had taken out s a mortgage against the property and reinvested the proceeds elsewhere, paying the interest on the loan out of the ACA, then it would all have been kosher.

Trying to squeeze other categories of expense into the ACA just opens a can of worms for other MPs, so as a senior MP he was ill-advised to make those claims.

Anonymous said...

Strapworld - "expenses" includes office expenses. If your beef is with personal expenditure, you should look at ACA claims. Personally, I'd want my MP to spend what he or she could on caseworkers etc.