Speaker Bercow

Well – when I arrived in Parliament in ’05 – Michael Martin was in the Chair. As I knew nothing about business in the House – and assumed that the Speaker knew everything – I just thought that was the way it had been done from time immemorial – and thus would it be ever – biased to calling those MPs from Scotland and men! Well – that is how it seemed to me.

Anyway – when John Bercow was elected (and I supported his bid after our own candidate Alan Beith was eliminated) I was delighted by his ability to manage business. Oh – what a difference. He is bright and witty and doesn’t let Ministers drone on – or questions bumble along never getting to the ask. He gets through more business. More people get opportunities to speak. And he understands the more complex demands that sometimes rear their heads.

My colleague, former MP David Howarth (stepped down at election – completely brilliant, in love with constitutions, standing orders and the minutiae that passes me by – but by which means confounds the processes of the House of Commons) was always using a standing order not used for decades to force a vote, or get an amendment taken or other dastardly confusions. Bercow actually understands the stuff.

Of course – I would prefer the chamber of the House of Commons to be horse shoe in shape, use language and form of language commonly understood by everyone, using names as well as constituencies (to humanise) and many other modernisations. However, for now, we simply have ‘new politics’ in the form of our fledgling coalition – but one day – I hope for greater change – where games with standing orders are not required to try and get business properly addressed and scrutinised in the elected chamber.

Today the questions is – will there be a revolt (by some Conservatives) against Bercow continuing as Speaker and a challenge – or will he prevail? I hope he prevails.

0 thoughts on “Speaker Bercow

  1. Lynne what a thoughtful and fair analysis of our current speaker. Sad that others are driven by revenge and spite rather than what is best for the country and the future reform of our “broken” politics. But I anticipate those leading the charge against him will, very shortly, get their own comeupance!

  2. Pingback: Brontides » Blog Archive » More on the new Government

  3. I agree entirely on the urgent need for horseshoe seating, and have suggested it should be an essential part of the move towards coalition government (for more on which, see http://su.pr/2FdCrl). The question is: are any of you pushing for it from the powers that be??

  4. I agree with you about the Speaker’s ability to chair proceedings – he does shut up the wafflers. I don’t agree about using names rather than constituencies: referring to fellow Members as the Member for such-and-such a place is a reminder that you’re not there in your own right, but to represent the people of your constituency.

  5. It must be difficult with all the different procedures in the House of Commons and I would guess it does get in the way of business sometimes, however I am sure it will get better witht the new modern look and feel of the government now. The issue and concern for me as an equality professional is that the business of the equality agenda is not overlooked or gets lost in other government business, I am very pleased that you have been appointed to the new post and hope you keep up with this work I wish you well in this challenge.

  6. I don’t see the need to change the seating arrangements. It’s only a convention that you have to sit on the government or the opposition benches, or with the rest of your party. Why not just sit where you like?

    In fact it would be quite funny, given the journalists obsession with splits in the coalition if you were to sit ‘where you weren’t supposed to’.