Speaker election

As this Parliament struggles its way to a premature close making a further mockery of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act it has decided on one last decision to carry its waning power into the next Parliament. It has decided to persevere with the election of a new Speaker on Monday. Whilst the new Parliament could choose a different Speaker on its first day, this would be unlikely.

The election campaigns of the candidates have not been front page news. On many issues the candidates agree. They all want the role to be less flamboyant, more referee and less player. They all say they wish to raise standards of behaviour and to show respect for MPs and the institution.

To me the crucial question is how will they wish to redefine the balance in Parliament between allowing strong and telling criticism and investigation of government whilst at the same time allowing a government to govern,

Some reforms of recent years are good and should be kept. More frequent Urgent Questions and topical debates keep Parliament relevant and make governments answer when things are worrying or going wrong. Too many Urgent Questions that are not urgent, have been asked before or are not of wider interest can absorb too much time for no great purpose.

Question Times have been extended informally. The new Speaker should review with interested parties how long Questions should normally last and make arrangements accordingly. Making the PM or Ministers stay long after the appointed time is discourteous to people with busy diaries.

Opening up the House for better public access, and allowing use of Speakers House for charities and other civic institutions has been welcome. The Parliament buildings belong to us all and should serve the wider community.

The more recent constitutional experimentation should stop. Legislation should  be proposed by a government, with a Money resolution to show it fits into the budget and Queens consent where needed to show it is compatible with the way the government is using prerogative powers. Parliament rightly has plenty of powers to delay or make difficult the passage of an unwelcome government Bill. It should not create powers to speed through legislation the government opposes on a one day only temporary alliance of MPs against the government.

The next Speaker also needs to come to a view with the Commons on what remedial and improvement works need doing over the next decade to the fabric of the buildings.

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  1. Pominoz
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    A last desperate attempt by the traitors to continue their stranglehold on the new Parliament and try to stop Brexit. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    If a Bercow ‘replica’ is elected, the new Parliament should immediately choose a different Speaker.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      By “Bercow replica” you mean a remarkably even-handed Speaker, but you have not the slightest interest in that, evidently.

      You apparently want a tame, rubber-stamping Parliament, to wave through the edicts of what you hope will be an elected dictatorship, chosen by almost as always, a minority of voters under FPTP.

      And yet you bewail the European Union’s parliament, quite inaccurately, for being exactly that in your imagination.

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        How about a speaker driving a car out of Westminster with a ‘Bollocks to the EU’ bumper sticker on it ? Or vowing to use ‘procedural creativity’ to get us out of the EU.

        Yes. You would call him remarkably even-handed wouldn’t you.

        • steve
          Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink


          No that wouldn’t do…..you mustn’t do it back.

          MiC’s frustration partly comes from the fact that his country voted leave.

      • Hope
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        If there were a speaker who would tenuinely raise MP standards the vast majority of the incumbents would be Gone. How many were forced out after the expense scandal? I think this demonstrates the rotten Parliament will continue with insincere claims about each other.

        How many of those MPs who voted for the Surrender Act will be investigated or sacked for furthering the interests of a foreign power against our country? Against the will and defying the will of the public. Not a mention.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        A good referee is one who is hardly noticed. The MPs were hardly noticed with Bercow in residence.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      The 31st deadline has passed and there is no rioting. This was a test. Imagine the scenes on the streets if we had left on the 31st.

      They can carry on as they wish, along the line of least resistance.

    • Posted November 4, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Pominoz – yes, indeed they should. But the ”new Parliament” may well be the one that doesn’t actually want us properly and cleanly to leave the EU. It may want us to remain shackled as closely as possible. So it’d need a Speaker on its side – to hell with impartiality if they serve their purpose.
      Unless, of course, it really IS a new Parliament.

      • Hope
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        If you vote Liblabcon expect the same corrupt pro EU remain parliament. Johnson has already U turned given back the whip to those who defied him over a matter of confidence and voted against him.

        JRM on radio saying Bercow should get a peerage! The same JRM who wanted Mayhab to resign because of her “vassalage”, later voted for her “vassalage” and now willingly votes for vassalage under Johnson! Why not have Mayhab back in cabinet as the Brexit Secretary. They are implementing the vast majority of her Servitude Plan?

        You cannot trust the left wing Tory party. Career first, party then country. Some very good articles in Con Woman today highlighting why Tories cannot be trusted on the economy, EU, immigration. Key policy issues all which they have U Turned and failed on for over Nine years!

    • Bob
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      It appears that the govt and MSM have been concealing the liabilities that the UK would be left with under the WA pertaining to the EIB. Callable capital of €37 billion and potential exposure of €500 billion in the event of the complete meltdown of the €urozone which is being widely predicted.

      A clean break is the only way to avoid this exposure.

      • Pominoz
        Posted November 5, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink


        Agree entirely.

        This is a very major concern.

    • steve
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:24 pm | Permalink


      “If a Bercow ‘replica’ is elected, the new Parliament should immediately choose a different Speaker”

      ……very unlikely.

  2. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    I would have thought this decision should be confirmed by ratification of the new Parliament. For one Parliament to bind an incoming one like this by appointing the referee is as good as unconstitutional.
    But the spectre of prospective MPs standing for parties which are either anti-semitic/anti-American whilst spouting equality jargon, denying a majority democratic vote, or misleading electors about the costs of Boris’ deal (our host excluded from all these) should also be deemed unconstitutional.

  3. Ian Wragg
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    The role of the Speaker should be better defined to prevent the shenanigans of Bercow.
    If that man gets a peerage then it will just confirm what a rotten remain crowd the place is.
    I see the poll lead is vanishing so much for not doing a pact with Nigel.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Then again If Boris wants to throw the election this will suit him fine.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        And if Boris were to get in with a big majority I reckon Brexit would go very quiet.
        Is he hoping for a small majority so that May-like shenanigans, theatre, pantomime, play-acting can continue unabated?

        • DaveK
          Posted November 4, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          Policies like the fracking ban and bowing to XR’s demand for a peoples congress on climate change smack of the election throwing dementia tax and fox-hunting debacle of 2017. The arrogance and entitlement is breathtaking. Someone in Conservative hierarchy needs to read the social media responses that the likes of Steve Baker are getting.

      • Mitchel
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        “Of all the nations of Europe,Britain and Russia alone,though for opposite reasons,have this in common:they can be defeated in the decisive land battle and still survive.This characteristic Russia owes to her immensity,Britain owes to her ditch.”

        Enoch Powell-“The Common Market:The Case Against” (1971)

        Not when Boris is in charge of the “ditch”!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Bercow does not deserve a peerage, nor even his pension or salary. An accommodation with the Brexit Party is essential and it is not too late. The “oven ready” deal should be ditched. It was perhaps the best they could get, given the appalling Benn Surender bill, but not once free of this outrage. Oven ready food is usually rather unpleasant anyway. This deal is expensive handcuffs for the next stage of long negotiations. Farage and Tice are spot on.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        “ Oven ready”.
        Smacks a bit of turkeys and Christmas and VOTING!
        Was Boris’s choice of wording a Freudian Slip??
        Cat out of bag?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Given the clear “remainer” make up of the Supreme Court (and Lawyers in general) and their clear desire to be ruled from overseas can we assume they will force the TV companies to include the anti-Democrat, anti-Liberal Jo Swinson – who want the UK to be no longer a nation or a democracy like them?

        • Question Mark One
          Posted November 4, 2019 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          I hear she will resort to Law. Isn’t it odd that undemocratic politicians and parties feel they have a good ally with our legal system.

    • Chairman
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink


    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Ian, people are beginning to see through Boris deal and know it’s not anywhere near Brexit. They can see he is no better than the dire May woman.

      • jane4brexit
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        Watching Boris watching the rugby in photographs this last weekend I thought that the table the tv on was presumably ugly, as it was covered by some also ugly pelmet type frill. Meaning instead of exchanging it for a lovely new one he was hiding it, but not well…which depressingly made me think of his WA.

    • rose
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      The polls are showing a drop for TBP but an increase for the Conservatives. It is the Socialists who are doing quite a bit better, as they tend to once Corbyn escapes from the House of Commons and promises the earth.

      The chickens really are coming home to roost – all those decades in which the Conservative refused to oppose or restrict out of control mass immigration and the race to the bottom it was bound to bring for ordinary people. The Socialists not only benefit from increasing the population, as they garner more votes, but they are also able to exploit the grim conditions overpopulation causes.

  4. acorn
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    At least one constituency won’t have to bother going out to vote. Its sitting MP will have been appointed unopposed by the previous parliament, before it was dissolved. Perhaps Farage will ignore conventions and contest the seat!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Farage tried that before did he not? The people of Buckingham, for some idiotic reason, preferred John Bercow!

      • Fred H
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        LL -they didn’t know what they were voting for !!

  5. steve
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    The next Speaker should be a supporter of WTO clean break in my opinion. The left had it all their own way and shafted us with Bercow, now it’s our right to do the same back to them.

    • Helena
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      Why, steve? WTO clean break was never on the ballot paper in 2016. All the leave campaign groups said we would leave only once we got a deal. The official leave campaign said we wouldn’t even send the Art 50 letter until we had agreed a deal.

      • jane4brexit
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        Not all the then PM said the opposite during the last PMQs before the referendum he also told MPs, who now seem not to remember or perhaps are just unwilling to, to take particular note that we would leave and only “then” begin trade negotiations which might take up to a decade (film available online, 36 minutes in):

        David Cameron PMQs 15th June 2016 Question 14.
        “I am very happy to agree with my hon. Friend. “In” means we remain in a reformed EU; “out” means we come out. As the leave campaigners and others have said, “out” means out of the EU, out of the European single market, out of the Council of Ministers—out of all those things—and will then mean a process of delivering on it, which will take at least two years, and then delivering a trade deal, which could take as many as seven years. To anyone still in doubt—there are even Members in the House still thinking about how to vote—I would say: if you have not made up your mind yet, if you are still uncertain, just think about that decade…”

        He also said we would move to WTO in the Sky interview and Q&A programme before the referendum programme as can be seen on youtube if you search for “David Cameron !!28 TIMES!! “Leave Single Market” (June 2016)” 1.2 minutes in.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        Steve didn’t know that there was such a thing as the Welsh Government, Helena.

        I doubt that your simple facts will interest him either.

        • Edward2
          Posted November 4, 2019 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          It is called a government but it has very limited devolved powers.

          • steve
            Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

            Edward 2

            Exactly……it’s ‘called’ a government, which doesn’t mean to say it is.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted November 4, 2019 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            He insisted that there was No Such Thing at all.

        • steve
          Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink


          So where is your Prime minister then ? Where is your head of state ? Where are your parliament buildings ?

          There is no such thing as the Welsh government. It’s an assembly.

          To have your own government Wales would have to become independent from the rest of the UK. We can assist you in that, if you wish.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted November 4, 2019 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          It is not a government. Only a devolved parliament with limited powers.

        • Fred H
          Posted November 5, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          Marty – I assume you mean the Welsh Assembly of 60 members, in a building that cost £70m?

      • graham1946
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        That was when we all naively thought the result would be implemented and supported by Parliament, and not the bitching denouncement of a democratic vote. Had Parliament been behind the result, the ‘deal’ would have been much better and many billions of pounds could have been saved. The Remoaners have cost this country dear.

      • steve
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink


        ‘Why, steve? WTO clean break was never on the ballot paper in 2016.’

        Helena, neither was there any mention of a deal on the ballot paper. It was a binary choice…leave or remain.

        Accordingly we didn’t vote for a deal, as you cannot vote for something which is not on the ballot.

    • Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      A somewhat one eyed view on the basis he was ejected 10 years ago so no idea where this ‘left shafted us’ view came from indeed opposition to any sort of Brexit cane from across the House.

      The Tories, supported by a supine press, have waged war in him, I am not suggesting he is blameless but let’s not forget it is they who elected the palpably unsuitable Theresa May to stop Boris and because she was desperate to do the job.

      They allowed here to trash her assertion she wouldn’t have an election and then supported a rubbish manifesto that lost her majority.

      Her pathetic Cabinet then allowed het to conduct secret negotiations and supported the sellout WDA that Boris is trying to worm out of.

      As usual in politics it is everyone else’s fault that the Tory party is demonstrating in spades.

      Note how Project Fear is back. Vote Farage get Corbyn. Obviously not rebutting the facts of what he said because they can’t.

    • DaveK
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Sadly Sir John is not I believe putting himself forward.

  6. Mark B
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    They all want the role to be less flambuoyant, more referee and less player.

    I have never seen in all my life such disdain, both from MP’s and the people alike, for Speaker Bercow. Some of it, from MP’s themselves, openly critical and indeed hostile of and towards him. To have, not only a vote of no confidence held against you but, to have your own former party declare that it will run against you in any GE is unprecedented. Clearly something(s) have gone very wrong ?

    If we are to stomach the FTPA then I see no reason why positions such as those of the Speaker be fixed term. Five years and you’re out. We also need to codify into law what the government, Speaker and others can and cannot do.

    My own belief is that it is also time to consider separating the Executive from the Legislature and, as to the latter, when the cross the floor of the house they must stand for re-election.

    The Parliament buildings belong to us all . . .

    The Palace of Westminster is a Palace and belongs to the Queen / Crown. It is no more a public building than Chequers is or Buckingham Palace. But if we insist on Remaining in the EU (BINO) then I suppose Ken Clarke MP might well get his wish and this marks the beginning of that process. 😉

  7. Sea Warrior
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    I was unhappy to see that the Speaker was able to determine what needed Queen’s Consent. He should lose that power. As for modernising the Commons, Bercow has been at the forefront of modernisation – and trashed the reputation of the Commons and the country in the process. I’ll be hoping today that Lindsay Hoyle gets the gig. I trust him to be fair.
    P.S. Last time I looked, the pension arrangements for Speakers were overly generous. They need trimming back to fairer levels. Perhaps a question should be asked.

    • Longnuts
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Remove their free accommodation in HoP. Let them mingle with the masses.

    • steve
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Sea Warrior

      ” I trust him [Lindsay Hoyle] to be fair.”

      ……I wouldn’t, he’s Labour.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 5, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        Trust in the H of C? – – -becoming quite a rarity.

  8. Shirley
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Nothing about actually limiting the powers of the Speaker? So another rogue Speaker can repeat the process all over again and we will be stuck with them and another rogue Parliament? Honesty, integrity and honour no longer exist in the majority of ‘honourable’ ladies and gentlemen in Parliament. It is undemocratic to the core!

    Give the electorate more power to kick out dishonest fraudulent MP’s OUT of Parliament altogether. Otherwise, the fraud and the dishonesty of Parliament will continue ad infinitum.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Well said Shirley.

    • Ian terry
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink


      Honesty, integrity and honour no longer exist in the majority of ‘honourable’ ladies and gentlemen in Parliament. It is undemocratic to the core! Give the electorate more power to kick out dishonest fraudulent MP’s OUT of Parliament altogether. Otherwise, the fraud and the dishonesty of Parliament will continue ad infinitum.

      Well said Shirley you would get my vote for your proposal. I think the country has had enough of all this posturing by in reality are not perceived to be at the top of their so called ability.

    • anon
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Amen to that!

      More direct accountability to the electorate, with automatic by-elections in cases of breach of 1) manifesto pledges 2) resigning a party 3) bringing reputation of office into question. 4) no cause – removal

      MPs should also annually but on different dates resubmit themselves for local reconfirmation during parliament or on a rolling basis to “peoples votes”.

      If they lose a full bye election is triggered.

  9. Dame Rita Webb QC
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Labour MP Chris Bryant is backed by senior Tories including Michael Gove to succeed John Bercow as Speaker sez the Daily Telegraph this morning. Thats another reason not to vote Conservative next month. Plus the cap on benefits is being lifted. A reach out to people who are never going to vote for you anyway and a turn off for people who might. Cummings seems to have a knack for backing winners like that serial loser of elections Crosby.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Michael Gove who inflicted May onto the nation and wants to kill private schools (and thus most of freedom and choice in education) with VAT on the fees. He, like Chris Bryant is another Oxford English graduate I believe. No thanks.

      Mogg, just now on LBC says the Boris deal is Brexit it clearly is not a real Brexit at all. He says the Conservative Party are a party of “low taxation” they are not at all. We now have the highest and more idiotic taxes for 40+ years. They just claim to be a party of low taxation especially near elections. They are a tax borrow and piss down the drain party, just not quite as bad as Labour are.

      He says the Benn deal was an outrage, it was indeed. So why are 10 of the traitors who voted for it back in the Party?

    • rose
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 11:12 am | Permalink


      I should have liked Mr Vara – a true gent if ever there was one – or Dame Eleanor. If he has to go for a socialist, why not Sir Lindsay? Or is this all a ruse not to frighten the Opposition horses out of voting for Hoyle?

      • Dame Rita Webb QC
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        agreed mr vara stands out in comparison to the many reptiles in westminster

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    What a stupid thing to do, they should have waited until after the election. Worse still it is to b overseen by the father of the house the dire anti democratic EUphile Ken Clarke. Let us hope we do not get the identity politics of envy dope Harriet (Harman ed). Linden Hoyle seem to be the favourite but not much information on him, his education or views seems to be on wiki etc.. His voting record seem to be mainly ‘he has never voted on’ ….. what has he been doing just sitting on the fence?

    He was however pro Bliar’s counterproductive war on a lie and against any investigation into it this appalling disaster.

    Reply Deputy Speakers and the Speaker do not vote in divisions for obvious reasons.

    • Dame Rita Webb QC
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Hoyle’s dad was an MP too. Remember the Warrington by election with Roy Jenkins? The draining of the Westminster swamp should include an examination as to why so many MPs seem to come from a self selecting class. Look at how many of them had MPs for parents, currently have siblings who are or are married to another MP. I would also include a literacy and numeracy test regardless of whether they have been to university or not.

      • Mitchel
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        That’s why you end up with the political equivalent of the Habsburg Chin!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      Thanks that explains it of course. None of the four, who seem to Have any real chance, seem remotely sound to me. Edward Leigh is fifth favourite and fairly sound but has no chance with this house. Chris Bryant, Cheltenham College then Oxford (English Mansfield College (never heard of it)) and previously worked as a Church of England vicar, as well as having roles at the BBC and Common Purpose and a minister for Europe, sport and culture. No thanks! Probably better with the Lancashire lad with no education, at least he might be slightly in touch with some real people up north.

    • rose
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      He seems to me to be admirably uncontentious.

  11. agricola
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Like the curates egg the current speaker has been good in parts. Lets hope the next one is an umpire/ referee and a little less flambouyant. It cannot be an easy function.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      I though Speaker Boothroyd was easily one of the best and showed how it was done. Firm and fair ! Knew her job and commanded respect from and for the House.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      A rotten egg is rarely “good in parts” – they are good or completely rotten.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      agricola – -good in parts? – using a microscope perhaps. The function is now pure pantomime.

  12. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Seems a bit odd that the Speaker chooses which amendments to a bill get debated, MPs should decide.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      all the amendments should be listed in one vote (paper?)- MPs then provide merit marks out of 10 for each – most popular ones win. Public to be told the result.

      • mancunius
        Posted November 5, 2019 at 1:19 am | Permalink

        Good idea!
        A partisan Speaker chooses the amendments that will kill (if he dislikes the bill) or the ones he knows will be voted down (if he wants the bill to succeed).
        Bercow already knew (because he’d discussed it with his favoured caucus of MPs) what would gain votes, so he pitched the debates in that direction.
        A genuinely impartial Speaker should feel embarrassment at having to make such decisions.

  13. Dominic
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    If Marxist Labour or a Labour-SNP alliance achieve power we won’t have a Speaker to speak of, as it were

    Johnson needs to wake up. The majority in the UK are socially conservative, anti-Marxist and believers in individual freedom and democracy and yet the main parties have been ‘taken over’ by people who do not believe in such things. In effect, the voter is being conned, deceived and lied to. Johnson needs an alliance (informal or formal) with the BP to target Marxist Labour in the north of England.

    • steve
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 8:13 pm | Permalink


      It makes no difference who gets power. They’re all in it together up to their necks.

      They’re not worth the effort of going to the polling station for.

      On polling day I shall be wearing my slippers, enjoying a bottle of Japanese whisky by the fireside, and won’t be going out for anyone, especially that bunch of stinkers.

  14. villaking
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    It is obvious in your penultimate paragraph that you oppose the use of parliamentary process to let legislation such as the Benn Act to pass. Had parliament not had that method available, what other device was there for parliament to prevent us leaving the EU with no WA? The majority of our elected representatives did not want that form of Brexit and I am thankful that they found a way to prevent the government from forcing an outcome the majority were opposed to. Mr Bercow is to be congratulated for strengthening our democracy.
    Since our Queen has a ceremonial role only, it is vitally important that the powers of the executive are kept in check.

    Reply Parliament had legislated to leave in two substantial and well considered [pieces of legislation.

  15. Richard1
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    It seems extraordinary that the deputy speaker doesn’t just stand in until the new parliament is elected.

    • mancunius
      Posted November 5, 2019 at 1:28 am | Permalink

      Parliamentarians seem indifferent to wasting 1) money and 2) time.
      All the hullabaloo about a few extra days of prorogation, and after the Almighty Tribunal had woven its spider web and demanded MPs return to ‘debate Brexit’, what did Opposition MPs do with the time they had so stridently demanded, to ‘hold the government to account’? They spent two days bad-temperedly screaming oafish insults at the government, then ran out of things to do during business, and absented themselves visibly. Nobody held them to account.

  16. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    The UK can make a mockery of any Act, however noble its purpose, that its Parliament decides, since it has no written constitution preventing that.

    Just imagine if say, Obama could have disrupted political life in the US by calling a presidential election whenever, or his simple majority could have decided that he could serve as many terms as he chose?

    People need to wake up to what a strange country this is.

    • sm
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps the USA might have wished it could get rid of its President via a VoNC in Nixon’s time; perhaps the Democrats wish they could get rid of Trump that way?

    • Edward2
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      You keep forgetting we have regular elections in the UK when politicians who do unpopular things can get voted out by the people.

      • acorn
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        Does that include politicians in safe seats? Or, are you just being sarcastic; or, simply demonstrating your naivety?

        • Edward2
          Posted November 5, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink

          They are only safe seats because that is how people want to vote in a particular area.
          In a once safe seat near me a long standing but poorly performing MP was recently voted out and replaced by a hard working local opposition party candidate.

          Your favourite party have been in power many times so there plainly is the ability to vote an alternative party into power.
          Try to post without a personal insult.
          You will feel the benefit acorn.

    • steve
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 8:19 pm | Permalink


      ” since it has no written constitution preventing that.”

      Oh so you’re now agreeing there is no written constitution. How amusing.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted November 5, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        I’ve never argued otherwise.

        All that is written is that Parliament Alone Is The Law.

        • steve
          Posted November 5, 2019 at 5:30 pm | Permalink


          “I’ve never argued otherwise”

          Oh yes you did mate, think back.

  17. Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Harriet Harman has already appealed on the grounds that she is a woman. I think myself that those days have long gone now.
    Please do choose a Speaker who will be an Umpire, not a shouty player. We badly need the idea of a disciplined court proceeding to come back rather than the spectacle of a lot of rather unpleasant people yelling at each other.

  18. oldtimer
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Bercow has diminished the reputation of the office of Speaker by his partisan actions. The next Speaker should aim to retrieve it by even handed behaviour.

  19. Kevin
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    I have an Urgent Question about something worrying:
    If the present Government is re-elected, will it claim that it has an explicit democratic mandate for its Deal with the EU, and, if so, will it make the contents of the Deal a front-and-centre debating point throughout the campaign, or will it fail to do so but claim a mandate for it anyway?

    • Simeon
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      It’s a very good question, though I suspect you know the answer 😉

      However, I think Farage and BJ at each other’s throats over his deal is too juicy a story for the media to ignore, which will undermine somewhat the inevitable attempt by the Tory press to smear Farage. I’m hopeful that there will be sufficient information available for those voters minded to do so to fairly assess BJ’s sell out.

  20. BJC
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    The post of Speaker is the key post in Parliament and has been abused for far too long. Our constitution is like Jenga and has come close to collapse as the accepted structures that support it have been removed.

    FTPA should be repealed to remove the certainty of tenure MPs have enjoyed whilst causing mayhem. Have we, in fact, ever reached a 5 year Parliament since its introduction?

    I agree with other posters that a change of Party should automatically trigger a by-election.

    As an outsider looking in, I also can’t think of a single reason to support mobiles in the debating chamber. The HOC is a place of work (albeit sparsely attended) and it’s impossible for MPs to give full attention to debates designed to sway opinion, whilst their noses are stuck in their phones……it might explain the entrenched views. If MPs truly need to be available every second of the day it would affect their health.

  21. A.Sedgwick
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Bercow is a reflection of the decline in our political standards e.g. new unelected Libdem MPs spouting off about democracy in rejecting vote of 17.4m. They have also reverted to a Scottish MP leader. How any self respecting English democratic constituent can vote for such without EVEL is another symptom of our demise. Then that leader or even PM could not vote for 80% of the UK – what a mess. The issue of England governance is almost as big an issue as the EU and interconnected.

  22. Christine
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Whoever is chosen needs to restore some dignity to the HoC and command the respect of the electorate not just the House. Speaker Bercow has tarnished the reputation of the House as a place on fairness and impartiality to the point where he has destroyed the confidence of the people in the whole institution.
    If he is elevated to the HoL, I think that will confirm to us all that our system of governance is tainted. The Deep State is alive and kicking here in the UK, just as it is in the USA. It is now increasingly exposed for all to see. What a disappointment. I really did think we were better than that. More fool me!

    • Chris
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Good post, Christine. Sadly very true. What we are up against, and what President Trump is up against is one and the same:the global political cabal, who have behind the scenes directed operations on the global stage for many years. P Trump has upset this (and Brexit has too) and that is why the opposition is ferocious. The USA has President Trump, and he will win big come the next election. Unfortunately we only have Boris, and he is, at the moment, apparently in thrall to the establishment. Things may change. Much depends on Nigel Farage, although they hate to admit it.

  23. Everhopeful
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Not sure how any of you have the cheek to “elect”,”vote for”,”pass” anything.
    Majority choice is a thing of the past.
    Names in a hat from now on…but then there could be retrospective debate regarding the person who picked out the winner.
    No,I suggest a mad dash for the speaker’s chair with scuffles at the end so the winner can scrabble into pole position. All filmed of course…in case of inappropriate behaviour.
    Much more fitting for parliament than a civilised vote.
    Best of all…the PM…who would not participate could just blame everyone else for the eventual “ choice”.

  24. Iain Moore
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    An impartial Speaker would be a starting requirement , but you also need a Speaker to repair the damage Bercow has done to the role for the belief of his bias has gone beyond the walls of the Palace of Westminster with the 52% also believing he has been politically corrupt.

    You also need a Speaker who will support the repair of our constitution , giving up the power of the Speaker to make arbitrary rulings and ensure any changes to the rules of the House are not permitted unless there has been extensive consultation, and only applicable after a Parliamentary session, or may be longer, to stop a rogue Speaker, like Bercow, misusing the powers of the position.

    I doubt Conservative MPs will bother themselves too much about this for they have more than lazy about defending constitutional niceties and let the left gerrymander it to their heart’s content. We have seen Conservative sloth over devolution. We have seen it over constituency boundaries. We have seen it over the Speaker, and we have seen it over the Lawfare that has been going on.

  25. ChrisS
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Anybody but Harriet Harmann !

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      OK, John Bercow again then.

      • ChrisS
        Posted November 4, 2019 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

        Harmann would have been even worse than Bercow – if that’s possible !

  26. alastair harris
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I do think the speaker should stop trying to emulate a prefect. MPs are adults and they all know the rules. And I don’t see a problem with MPs making noise. Part of the checks and balances when MPs indulge in pompous blather!

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Off topic, I am sorry to see Steve Baker attacking Nigel Farage:


    I reluctantly came to the view that ERG members should hold their noses and vote for Theresa May’s rotten deal, and I have now come to the view that when Labour condemn Boris Johnson’s deal as worse than hers it is not empty party political rhetoric.

    Here are the last two lines of a letter I have sent to our the Maidenhead Advertiser, pointing out that it was his alienation of the 10 DUP MP’s that swung the Saturday October 19 Commons vote in favour of Letwin’s wrecking amendment:

    “Even Theresa May had more sense than to do what he has done, however much he tries to cover it up with ever more extravagant adjectives to describe the fruits of his negotiation with the EU – “great”, “excellent”, “fantastic”, and so on.

    On March 2 2018 she correctly stated that it would be unacceptable to “… break up the United Kingdom’s own common market by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish Sea”, but that is what her successor agreed to do.”

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      The attack dogs have been released. Baker and Francois chosen as they are (or were respected) but they are wrong. Anyway this will not work over the six weeks Farage and others will show clearly that the deal is appalling and is not Brexit.

      We must do far better once released from (some of) the remainer traitors in the party and the House and the appalling Benn Act. Just leaving is clearly better anyway.

  28. Mark J
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    After Bercow one thing is for certain. New laws need to be put in place to make it easier to kick out ‘rogue’ Speakers. It was an utter disgrace that Bercow was allowed to carry on for so long, bringing the role into disrepute through blatant bias in the Brexit debates. Yet there was no real way of ousting him, except for a vote of confidence, that had no chance of succeeding with a Remainer majority.

    If a Speaker has been shown (with clear evidence) to be abusing their power, they should be sacked – with, or without a majority confidence vote.

  29. rose
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that the Speaker has become, rather like the Cabinet Secretary, much more powerful and far reaching than he should be, or used to be. You, Sir John, will know how this has been accomplished, and how in future it can be curtailed. I mean behind the scenes roles, not the role in the House. Has he executive positions which could be hived off?

    • Time is Money
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      It’s taking for ever for 600 people in make a simple decision

  30. graham1946
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Perhaps Parliament could be made more relevant if the Speaker has power to:

    1) Instruct the PM to actually answer the question put and not do a party political broadcast or ruling such a reply as out of order. A few humiliations would bring the PM’s back down to earth and actually make them accountable instead of the farce we currently have.

    2) Stop the sucking up questions such as ‘Does my Right Hon Friend realise just how wonderful and brilliant he is and how wonderfully our party is running the country?’

    PMQ’s could actually become relevant and time wasting stopped in order to retrieve Parliament’s reputation which is sorely needed.

    • Dennis
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely agree with that. If I were opposition leader I would not turn up to PMQs until that was fixed. Why waste one’s time?

    • Chairman Now
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      A simple Chairperson would do, efficiently

  31. glen cullen
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    What modernisation, I don’t see any modernisation, what I see is an old system keeping to old out dated traditions. Parliament was modern once, when it was first introduced. Business and society are continually evolving and keeping up with modern systems, technology and infrastructures

    Holding on to the past for the sake of tradition is why Rome fell

    With brexit as a milestone in a new politics so should parliament embrace new systems of work and technology

    Electronic voting, all committees from both houses televised live and aired on a dedicated channel, locate a new building (big enough to seat all MPs), operate 9-5, issue every MP with an office within their local government building and provide 2 civil servants and all administrative support (zero expenses), a minority government should trigger an immediate election, fully elected lords, the speakers term of office should renewed which each new government…..the list goes on

    • tim
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      glen cullen- hmp,hmp, hmp, BUT that would mean democracy! WE dont do democracy. I could go on, nothing will ever change while we have first past the post.

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 4, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      It appears that today is a day for glorification of commons and for keeping traditions

      A whole days business just to vote in a new speaker….this would’ve taken 30mins in business and the real world, what of productivity ?

  32. David Maples
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    🏏We need two speakers, like the two umpires in a game of cricket, one at the bowler’s end(the chair), and one at square leg(under the gallery, by the doors)! When the ‘fielders’ appeal, both speakers should reach for their Erskine May meters and confer together🏏

  33. rose
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Interesting that every single one of the remaining candidates is privately educated.

  34. The Prangwizard
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    If I could vote, I would vote for Lindsay Hoyle. I worked in Manchester for 20 years and I like his accent, his tone and inflexion.

  35. BillM
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    The Speakers status has been seriously undermined by the antics of Bercow. His deputy Lindsay Hoyle, made himself more responsible, when he turned down the frivolous debate over 16 year olds gaining voting privileges.
    Once installed the new Government MUST draw up set rules that the speaker must adhere to and deny him/her the chance to over rule the elected Government of the time.
    Bercow has made our country look very stupid across the globe and it is opportunity to change all of that and ensure there is never a repeat..

  36. steve
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Makes no difference, it’ll still be a biased left wing EU sympathiser.

  37. tim
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    slightly off topic just watched:
    Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice give speeches and present 600 MP candidates. FANTASTIC

    • tim
      Posted November 5, 2019 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      tim- thank you Sir John, for allowing my post.

  38. outsider
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John, Personally, I like most old traditions even when most of their original meaning has been lost. But we should not join ceremonies that actually mean the opposite of what appears. That is just hypocrisy.
    So when nine MPs put themselves up and campaign to become Speaker, and this post carries enormous privilege, a fat salary and expenses, a specially generous taxpayer-funded pension and, according to Mr Rees-Mogg, an ex-officio peerage, it is time to stop pretending that a new Speaker has to be dragged unwillingly to sit in the Chair. This should be replaced by a new, more relevant ceremony of dragging the Speaker out of the Chair at the opportune moment. Sadly that would be too late for Mr Bercow.

  39. Dominic
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Though I suspect Johnson’s hoping to keep the BP out of the Commons, hoping Labour do well in the north but not too well and hoping for a majority that makes it easy to force through Brexit circumvention

    If that means turning a blind eye to all Labour’s extremist alliances, abuses over many years, electoral abuses etc etc then so be it

    Who cares about the truth, morality and doing the right thing. Protecting the Tory party from harm is the only thing that matters even if it means protecting Labour at the same time..though it’s all about maintaining the Remain status quo

  40. ukretired123
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    As a Lancastrian myself I recognise Sir Lindsay Hoyle brings the qualities of no nonsense Northern grit and determination to do the right thing. He deserves success as he is modest, not a grandstanding ego tripper and published his modest expenses and not declared any car sticker bias on Brexit.
    After the dreadful weather this weekend and England’s rugby upset SLH s appointment is a breath of fresh air!
    He does not suffer fools and will call a spade a spade.
    Above all he has Integrity.
    Congratulations to him and Best of British luck.

    • MeSET
      Posted November 5, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      As a Northerner, Yorkshire, I do not see any Northern Grit that is any different from Southern, Eastern and Western Grit, which includes all of the UK.
      We are one people.
      Yorkshire does have the core of the UK language though, preserved, archived, and can be used in a time of absolute national emergency, only. It does not mince words.

      Reply Please limit yourself to one or two comments a day. You are overwhelming the site with contributions

    • ukretired123
      Posted November 5, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Before being elected as an MP, he ran his own textile and screen printing business. That in itself tells me he has done a real job in the real world and is rare to find in many MPs who understand the ordinary voter.
      Even though he is a Labour MP he reminds me of Frank Field and a few other good MPs who see the National Interest priority. No one is perfect but he is up there above what I call Floating and Showboating MPs.

  41. Fred H
    Posted November 5, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Hopefully a good choice, but 5 Labour, 2 Conservatives? It took hours to decide even though the winner lead every vote! Typical of the Hof C – a lot of hot air over the simplest of decisions. Did the 50 odd dropping out still vote?

  42. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 6, 2019 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    Sir Lindsay Hoyle appears to be boring and a safe pair of hands, not given to aggro and rocking the boat. After 10 years of Bercow, that’s exactly what we need.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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