Some contributors to this site and other Conservatives I spoke to over the week-end have spoken out strongly against John Bercow. BBC journalists are using vivid language to describe Conservative attitudes to John in their commentaries on the Speakership from their sources.
I respect John’s skills as a Parliamentarian. He has the best memory of any MP, which he can use to recall the exact words of quotes, dates and other facts that can be important to the debate. He has been on an unusual political journey, from Monday Club to acting as an adviser to the Labour government. I have sympathy for his views on children with speech difficulties and think he has done good work on that matter. His own personal family story should evoke sympathy, not dislike.
The new Speaker should heed the wise words of advice from David Cameron. The House needs to see not merely that he has put behind him the views and loyalties he held some years ago, but now he is Speaker he has to also discard his more recent views and friendships to demonstrate impartiality.
He needs to show that his message of change is change for a purpose. The purpose should be to rebuild Parliament as the leader of national debate, the means to hold government to account, and the way to ensure proper representation of minority opinion. His decisions need to show he wants a stronger Parliament, able to hold truth to power, and capable of requiring accountable Ministers to take the place seriously and to tell us first.
It should have been no surprise that he got the job. It is , as I keep reminding my readers, a House with a large Labour majority. Labour decided to remove the old Speaker, and Labour were always in a position to choose the new one. Yesterday Labour decided to behave tribally and to elect the candidate many Conservatives did not want.
Conservatives now have to accept the result, and show respect to our new Speaker. We all need this to work. The Opposition should not prejudge this Speaker. He should be judged on how well he does at allowing Parliament to have more teeth and to hold a more central role in public debate.