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Give Bercow a chance

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john bercow mpRumblings over new Speaker

OK so he may have flipped more than just his second home, he may have been elected on the strength of Labour votes intending to enrage Conservatives, he may, as Cranmer intimates, have switched or dropped many of his allegiances over the years (including his religious heritage), he may have swung from hard right to soft left, he may have helped out Gordon Brown by agreeing to serve him as an advisor, he may have done many things to frustrate the leadership of the Conservative Party in Parliament but he is now the new Speaker of the House of Commons, the first to be elected by a secret ballot.

By virtue of the fact that the whole House is steeped in mire his task will be enormous in attempting to return some sanity and respect to political life as seen through the eyes of the public, and as a few said yesterday they were collectively responsible for getting into the mess, and therefore they must be collectively responsible for digging themselves out of the dung heap. One man alone cannot achieve that, and if he could he could only achieve it with the support and backing of 600 odd others, so talk of supplanting Bercow after the next election is both premature and unwise, he must be given his chance to work with the House but must stamp his authority upon it almost immediately if he is to be seen as his own man.

To allay the fears that he is in the Executive’s pocket he must ensure that on Wednesday that the Prime Minister actually answers questions rather than ask them, he must ensure that the session becomes something which was once meaningful and that the House can probe and peer inmto the workings of government without valuable time being wasted by planted questions that substitute for another ministerial announcement. These would be the first steps in restoring faith in the office of Speaker.

As Tim Montgomerie states at Conservative Home on talk of replacing Bercow as Speaker after the election:

It would devalue an already devalued Speaker’s office still further.

John Redwood also urges a measure of reconciliation in his blog this morning:

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.

The cudgels should be put back in the boot for now, the Conservatives should see this election as a time for change and hope and pray that Bercow delivers as promised and that the House of Commons can begin to rebuild it’s relationship with the electorate and regain it’s ability to hold the government to account. Bercow carries a heavy weight upon his shoulders, a burdon that he may not be able to carry alone, it is incumbent upon all Members to give him aid and not to shrink from the task as he sets off on this journey, to add more to his load right now is quite unthinkable!

Give him a chance before sitting in judgement.

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Written by curly

June 23, 2009 at 9:51 am

4 Responses

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  1. I hope that he will judged on his performance and that his performance is good. Another weak, deceitful Speaker will cause huge damage to Parliament.

    Letters From A Tory

    June 23, 2009 at 10:27 am

  2. I thought he did extremely well, Curly.

    David Potts

    June 24, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    • I thought he was businesslike today, but a bit harsh on the Tories, revenge for the sniping?


      June 24, 2009 at 5:05 pm

  3. […] Bercow, of course, only won the Speaker’s job after a campaign by backbench Labour MPs in a pique after the ousting of Michael Martin following the expenses scandal, and back in June Tim Montgomery at Conservative Home was calling for him to be given a chance and opining that moves to remove him after the election would “devalue an already devalued Speaker’s office still further”. However, having dipped into the public purse to refurbish Speaker’s House to the tune of over £20,000 with new sofas and a playroom for the children, I wonder if Montgomery still holds the same opinion? […]

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