Tag Archives: commons speaker

Emergency Commons debate after Lib Dem MP John Hemming “intimidated” by solicitors

The BBC reports:

Commons Speaker John Bercow has granted MPs an emergency debate after one Member claimed he had been “intimidated” by a firm of solicitors.

Liberal Democrat John Hemming, who represents Birmingham Yardley, complained about an e-mail he had received from Withers LLP.

Mr Bercow said the MP believed it amounted to a “contempt of the House” and ordered a debate for Thursday. It was a matter “to which I should allow precedence”, he told the Commons.

Full story here.

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Speaker Bercow tells Nick: no inquiry into MPs’ ‘flipping’ or CGT evasion

Two weeks ago, Nick Clegg wrote to Sir Thomas Legg – in the wake of Sir Thomas’s decision to recommend MPs repay public money if they had been found to have overclaimed expenses for cleaning and gardening – asking that he examine the most serious allegations levelled against MPs:

… when your inquiry was first announced, I think most people expected the worst offences such as flipping to come under the toughest scrutiny. The letters sent this week, however, appear not to focus on these offences. If your review is to be seen as credible it must expose every single one of those MPs who claimed for a non-existent mortgage or ‘flipped’ their second homes purely for personal gain, some of whom then went on to avoid Capital Gains Tax. Some of these MPs appear to have made tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds in profits with the help of taxpayer subsidies. They must be exposed and these illegitimate profits returned.

Today Nick got his answer, but not the one he – or the public – would have hoped for. Sir Thomas passed Nick’s letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, to reply. Here’s what he said (with a big hat-tip to The Times’s Sam Coates):

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Nick Clegg – “Parliament houses a shooting gallery but not a creche”

Today witnessed the appearance of Nick Clegg (as well as Gordon Brown and David Cameron) in front of the Speaker’s Conference, chaired by the new Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

The issue this special committee has been asked to look at is: “Consider, and make recommendations for rectifying, the disparity between the representation of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people in the House of Commons and their representation in the UK population at large”.

You can watch Nick give his views and answer questions on the Parliament website here (his part begins about 48 …

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Standing against the Speaker: never mind the politics, what about the voters?

There’s been plenty of interesting Lib Dem internet chatter asking whether – now Ukip’s soon-to-be-ex-leader Nigel Farage is breaching normal convention and standing against the incumbent Speaker, Tory MP John Bercow, in Buckingham – the Lib Dems should follow suit.

Opinion is divided. Some say we absolutely shouldn’t – here, for instance, is Stephen Glenn:

… while the ‘convention’ for not standing against a sitting speaker is not as set in stone as some people may have you believe, it is none the less a precedent symbolising the apolitical nature of the role. Indeed it seems to be one, that even if contested, the constituents seem to back up as not one speaker seeking election since 1969 has polled less than 50% of the vote.

And here’s the Wit and Wisdom blog:

Liberal Democrats wanting to be taken seriously should give the Speaker a clear run at the next election as is the convention.

Meanwhile Mark Littlewood at Liberal Vision is more open to the idea that the Lib Dems should stand a candidate to oppose Speaker Bercow and Mr Farage:

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Speaker accuses whips of leaking information

Speaker John Bercow certainly didn’t flinch from his accusations of leaking against whips. As I Spy Strangers reports:

The Speaker of the House of Commons has told MPs that neither he nor his staff leaked details of his statement to the House on proposals to elect his deputies.

John Bercow said that he had consulted with government and opposition whips before he made his statement last Thursday…

The Speaker told MPs that

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Daily View 2×2: 3 July 2009

2 Big Stories

Is homphobia still rife on the Tory benches?

That’s the allegation from Labour cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw:

Ben Bradshaw has said “a deep strain of homophobia still exists on the Conservative benches”. Mr Bradshaw, one of three gay men currently in the cabinet, made the comments as a new poll suggested more gay people were turning to the Tories. Chris Bryant, another gay minister, said: “If gays vote Tory they will rue the day very soon.”

For what it’s worth I suspect that equality for gay people is the one area where the Tories have genuinely changed over the years …

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Bercow: deputy speakers should be elected

John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, today told the House that his new deputy speakers should be elected by MPs.

From the BBC:

In a statement, he told MPs he wanted two deputy speakers from the government side and one from the opposition side.

He is believed to be concerned that following his own election by secret ballot last month the three deputies should also be elected.

Mr Bercow indicated he had consulted party whips, who normally appoint the deputy speakers, about the plan.

It is thought that Mr Bercow is looking to implement the changes – or

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Congratulations Speaker Bercow

Final result announced 8.30 pm:

John Bercow: 322
Sir George Young: 271

Read Speaker Bercow’s manifesto HERE.

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Speaker election round 2 – and it’s still Bercow or Young

2nd round ballot result announced 7.00 pm:

John Bercow 221
Sir George Young 174
Margaret Beckett 70
Sir Alan Haselhurst 57
Sir Alan Beith 46
Ann Widdecombe 30 – ELIMINATED

With Beckett, Haslehurst and Beith having all seen their votes decline between rounds one and two, it would seem sensible for all three to withdraw to allow the clear two-horse race to be settled promptly. Let’s see if that happens…

Update: it will be a straight run-off between Bercow and Young.

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Speaker election – it’s Bercow or Young

1st round ballot result announced 5.10 pm:

John Bercow 179
Sir George Young 112
Margaret Beckett 74
Sir Alan Haselhurst 66
Sir Alan Beith 55
Ann Widdecombe 44
Parmjit Dhanda 26 – ELIMINATED
Richard Shepherd 15 – ELIMINATED
Sir Patrick Cormack 13 – ELIMINATED
Sir Michael Lord 9 – ELIMINATED

It looks like John Bercow might be pretty unstoppable, unless enough MPs unite behind Sir George Young. Credibtable performance by Sir Alan Beith, finishing fifth and ahead of Ann Widdecombe.

Posted in News and Parliament | 5 Comments

Who are you supporting in the race for Commons Speaker?

It’s a month since we opened our LDV poll asking readers who you would vote for to be the next House of Common Speaker. Reader, we failed you. Of the list of 11 possible contenders we provided, your top two faves – Frank Field and Sir Menzies Campbell – will not be running.

Indeed, it looks like only the four knights of the realm from our original line-up will actually appear on the ballot papers today: Sir Alan Beith, Sir Alan Haslehurst, Sir George Young and Sir Patrick McCormack. Others who seem likely to stand are Margaret Beckett, John …

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Daily View 2×2: 22 June 2009

2 Big Stories

Whips accused of fixing Speaker vote
The Times reports:

The race to become the most powerful Commons Speaker in modern history is being undermined by party whips who are trying to install Margaret Beckett as their anti-reform candidate.

Senior Labour figures have been accused of colluding with Conservatives to ensure that Mrs Beckett is elected today. She was the only candidate not to endorse plans to remove the powers of patronage from the Whips’ Offices — so that MPs, rather than party whips, would choose the chairmen of select committees.

Her candidacy was pushed by Nick Brown, the Chief

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Is this the next Speaker of the House of Commons?

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Gidley and Carmichael back Bercow for Speaker

Two Lib Dem MPs have declared who they’re supporting in the forthcoming election for the next Speaker of the House of Commons. Sandra Gidley and Alistair Carmichael are co-signatories to a letter published in today’s Guardian extolling the virtues of Conservative MP John Bercow:

With the standing of parliament at an all time low, the next Speaker will take office in unprecedented circumstances (Speaker candidates call for end to prime minister’s questions, 16 June). Reform is desperately needed as the “old” way of doing things does not carry the confidence of those we serve – too many of our traditions,

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Opinion: Bold new leadership and a united strategic front

Moat-cleaning services, tennis court repairs, the ‘flipping’ of second homes to make a profit, the claiming of mortgages that don’t exist, two BNP MEPs … all are examples which represent the negative issues within our political system that have come to a head very, very quickly over the last month. This problem however is simply the result of an underlying fault in British politics – the lack of ambition, empathy and passion for everything this country represents.

The leader of this society should be able to walk into packed football stadiums, from Stamford Bridge to Huish Park, and have everyone applaud …

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Why I’ve lobbied my MP over the choice of Speaker

In the past it’s never really occurred to me to lobby my MP about who they were going to support in a contest for Speaker of the House of Commons. I’ve seen those contests as largely internal affairs, with MPs knowing the candidates and their likely ability to do their job far better than me, and with the choice having only a limited impact on life outside the Commons itself.

This time, though, matters are clearly different. The MySociety team has put together an excellent three-point manifesto, which Speaker candidates are being asked to back:

1. Voters have the right to know

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LDV readers say: Frank Field for Commons Speaker

Cast your minds back three weeks, and Lib Dem Voice posed the question to our readers, Who do you think should be the next Speaker? Over 1,200 of you voted, and (unsurprisingly) your preferences split many ways – but it was renegade Labour MP Frank Field who topped our poll, with just shy of one-in-five votes.

The four mooted Lib Dem candidates for Speaker – Ming Campbell, Alan Beith, Vince Cable and Norman Baker – together received 41% of the total vote. To date, only Sir Alan and Sir Menzies have confirmed their intentions to stand, today publishing

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[email protected]: Sirs Ming & Alan publish their Speaker manifestos

Over at The Times, the two Lib Dem candidates for the position of Speaker of the House of Commons – Sir Menzies Campbell and Sir Alan Beith – set out their manifestos, stating what reforming credentials they would bring to this most historic of offices. Excerpts below:

Ming Campbell:

What is needed is a Speaker who imposes their authority on the House of Commons, not their politics; a Speaker who will stand up for all MPs and when necessary stand up against the Government of the day; a Speaker who will not be intimidated.

The primary purpose of the House of Commons is

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Four confirmed candidates for Speaker so far

News from the Hansard Society via email:

The Hansard Society will be holding a hustings meeting for potential candidates for the role of Speaker of the House of Commons. Potential candidates will have the opportunity to make a statement and answer questions both from MPs and those submitted by members of the public via the Hansard Society website.

We have invited potential candidates for the position of Speaker to participate. Since the position will still be fluid then, it is not our aim to be exclusive.  Confirmed participants in the Hansard Society Speaker Hustings thus far include:

  • Alan Beith MP
  • John

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LDV Members’ Survey – MPs’ expenses (6): your views about the Speaker

Almost a week ago, LDV emailed those Lib Dem party members signed-up to our private discussion forum inviting them to take part in a survey focusing on MPs’ expenses. Many thanks to the 240+ of you who completed it; we’ve published the results in full on LDV over the last few days. You can catch up with all our past exclusive LDV members’ surveys by clicking here.

1.

LDV asked: Now that the Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin, has resigned a handful of Liberal Democrat MPs have been suggested as the new Speaker. It has

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LDV readers say: Speaker Martin should go now

‘Greengate’ – the Metropolitan police’s incomprehensibly botched arrest of Tory MP Damien Green – appears to be the row that keeps on giving. More than three weeks after the shadow immigration minister was arrested and his Parliamentary office raided, it’s the turn of assistant commissioner Bob Quick to find himself in hot water for hot-headedly accusing the Tory party of being “wholly corrupt”.

But track-back a fortnight, and it was another authority figure who was in trouble for his unprofessional role in ‘Greengate’ – the failure of Michael Martin, the House of Commons Speaker, even to ask if the police …

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