The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Bercow as Speaker - a Forgone Conclusion?
Posted Tuesday, 16 June 2009 at 13:17

Today, Jonathan Isaby of ConservativeHome has made the case for John Bercow to become Speaker. Quite how John thinks that will be possible with only three Conservative supporters so far and one of those wavering I am not sure; however, yesterday ConHome also quoted a Conservative MP as stating that if Bercow became Speaker, he would be the third Labour Speaker in a row.

The irony is of course, that he probably almost really would be the third Labour Speaker in a row!

It was ConservativeHome, which artfully 'outed' what was believed to be Bercow’s intention to cross the floor of the House, and to join the Labour party at a similar time to Quentin Davies.

With regard to the 'outing' by ConservativeHome, knowing ConHome as we all do, the source would have been sound. From what I remember at the time, ConHome possibly posted a retraction later on, in response to Bercow's protestations to the contrary. I believe that crossing over had been his full intention; however, two events challenged his political courage, found it wanting, and I believe he bottled it.

The second event came, in my humble opinion, the day Bercow faced the reality of crossing the floor, by proxy.

It was the day that Quentin Davies took his seat behind Gordon Brown and sat on the Labour benches for the first time for PMQs.

When PMQs ended and the Conservative benches rose, the comments which passed from one bench to another regarding the opinion of Conservative MPs towards Quentin Davies, were caustic, vitriolic and unforgiving - very unforgiving.

I studied Bercow, I was right behind him.

His head swivelled at almost 360 degrees as he tried to take in every comment simultaneously. Someone spoke to him, but he didn't even notice, so intent was he on catching every insult and angry remark. There was almost a look of suppressed shock on his face and I thought to myself: "you are wondering if this is what they will say about you when you move over".

It may be the case that Bercow will become Speaker. I for one will be studying the procedure, to call a Speaker re-election following a general election, very carefully; and will have that procedure engrained on my heart ready to go when the Conservative party take power.

I shall be doing this for a number of reasons. The first being that the Speaker’s wife, should he have one, plays a very important role. We have all seen how often Speaker Martin’s wife has been named in the press over the years. John Bercow’s wife is reported to be a socialist. Does this matter? I think it does, a great deal. The position has been held by socialists twice already.

I also have grave concerns regarding his neutrality on certain issues.

See below the exchange between himself and Chris McCafferty MP, the pro-abortionist, in July of last year, when discussing the attempt to reduce the upper limit at which abortion takes place from 24 to 20 weeks.

Bercow I am extremely grateful to the hon. Lady for giving way and I entirely agree with her. It is a pity that the Bill is being used for that purpose although, to be fair, it is in parliamentary order. Does she agree that if people who want to reduce the upper time limit are determined to go ahead with their amendments, as they are perfectly privileged to do in parliamentary terms, those of us who favour a different modernisation and improvement of the law will take our opportunity, too? We can obtain a genuinely progressive reform, rather than the antediluvian reform that some favour.

Chris McCafferty (Calder Valley, Labour) The hon. Gentleman makes a valuable contribution to the debate. I sincerely hope that we get our opportunity to improve the legislation on behalf of women.

John Bercow described the 190 of us, who voted in favour of reducing the upper limit, as ‘antediluvian’, which means 'before The Flood' i.e. prehistoric.

And yet, as was widely reported in both the media and reflected in various polls, the majority of doctors and the general public were right behind us.

Why is his view on this issue important? Well, part of the Speaker’s role is to select the amendments laid down by MPs to be called and voted on in the House.

Can we trust a Speaker who has such strident zealot views on such an issue to be fair, if he regards those in favour of reducing the number of abortions as prehistoric?

I think not.

Therefore, it is for this reason, more than any other, that I shall make my commitment to guarantee, by any means at my disposal, that should John Bercow become Speaker, I will do my best to make sure that it is one of the shortest served appointments in the grand, and glorious, history of that coveted chair.

 
 
 
William said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Fair enough, are you going to tell us who you'll back?
 
 
Keith Willey said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
You may be right about him planning to cross the floor and then bottling. Not totally sure though why that would make him unnaceptable as Speaker. Forgive me, but Churchill did the same and yet was accepted, eventually, by the Conservatives as PM. Also, if having strong opinions on issues is a barr to the job, then presumably no MP could become Speaker? George Thomas had been a cabinet minister, and yet, according to many who were around at the time, was an outstanding Speaker. For the record, I'm not a Labour voter, but simply want the best candidate for Speaker to get the job. Like you, I believe Parliament requires a radical overhaul.
 
 
Curbishly said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Good for you.
 
 
China Plate said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Ah yes, but to do that Nadine you have to get re-elected first yourself...
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
"Why is his view on this issue important? Well, part of the Speaker’s role is to sel ect the amendments laid down by MPs to be called and voted on in the House." Surely the logical conclusion of this is that only someone who has never expressed an opinion on any subject which comes before the House is suitable to sit in the Speaker's chair - "zealous" or otherwise? The reported Tory approach to this is ludicrous. As soon as an MP becomes the Speaker their political views become utterly irrelevant. The role precludes them from becoming involved in any political issue - witness the outrage at Michael Martin's comments about a particular policy of David Blunkett's when he was Home Secretary. By taking the Chair Bercow would be effectively silenced. Nadine, it seems more likely that you don't want Bercow to take the chair because he vociferously opposed a policy which you verciferously supported. Why not judge his case for the chair on its merits?
 
 
PA to Nadine Dorries said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Nadine is at a funeral today and will not be accepting any comments until further notice.
 
 
Martin Flitwick said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Bottler Bercow would fit well on the labour benches. After all the Milliband and others bottled the real task in hand which was to lift the weight of high office from Brown who has bottled submitting himself to an election, bottled having an open inquiry into the Iraq war, and bottled getting rid of Darling and co.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
You shouldnt be politicising the appointment in this way. It looks like you are saying that the speaker should always come from the governing party or have support from the governing party. When the tories return to power you will unseat him? This kind of approach to the speakership denigrates parliament. It reads like you are saying you want a speaker who is anti-abortion. Surely for the speaker to be able to do his or her job they should just set politics and views aside and chair the chamber?
 
 
James said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Quick comment: Are you saying that the speaker should be someone who does not have strident views on any issue (potentially impossible in the Commons I would suspect)? Or are you saying that the speak should be someone without strident views on this particular issue, or other ethical issues? Can a logical distinction be made? This isn't a criticism - I'm just interested to know to what extent previous held views should impact a politically neutral appointment. For similar reasons I find Beckitt's nomination strange - she has been a figure in Government for 12 years defending the Government line. Can she really be credible as a politically neutral appointee.
 
 
Anne said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
many fair comments Nadine, but the reference to Mrs Bercow is a bit below the belt. I think married couples are perfectly capable of independent thoughts and actions.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
I have crititicised many things you write for various reasons - you have redeemed yourself many times over with this. I would like to know who the 3 Con supporters are.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
The role of speaker is the third most important in the country. It would be a concern if Sarah Brown was a conservative and Samantha Cameron a socialist.
 
 
Stephen Walkley said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Glad the Conservative party don't believe in smearing their colleagues behind their back. Smearing them to their face and in public is very refreshing. Just wait until they get round to actual policies, Europe, tax increases, service cuts, Tuition Fees - should be like watching at the first corner in a F1 Grand Prix.
 
 
Chris said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
I've just had a look at John Bercow's website. You would honestly struggle to know which party he was affiliated to as it mentions the Tories on only a handful of occasions and there is no branding whatsoever. I'd like to know what his constituency party thinks of his stance?
 
 
Sally said:
Responded: Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Good point about the wife. That is obviously the reason why Labour are happy to vote him in. They will have one socialist in the Speakers sw**k office. Better than none I suppose.
 
 
Simon said:
Responded: Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Well done Nardine you have revealed the side of John Bercow that he doesn't put on show to his constituents or local party members, many of which have either chosen to turn a blind eye to John Bercow's ultra liberal views, since the time of his 'enlightenment' when he became a 'leftie liberal' overnight; which has been acted out in the House of Commons, on a whole range of issues including, abortion, as you point out. The fact he stands under the blue Conservative party ticket, that's all local party members need to know, It seems they are not interested in his new found new liberal values or his allegiance to New Labour and Gordon Brown. It seems it doesn't come into what appears to be their 'tunnel vision' of continuing to support their Conservative MP. To be honest I think the local party chairman and officials would continue to support him if he now had communist ideology and beliefs. I really believe they either just don't care or they don't understand national politics and haven't got a clue about his changed core beliefs and his voting record in the House, not to mention some of his smug cheap put down statements that you have highlighted to anyone who dares to have a different view. ( Just what Parliament needs right now a Speaker who doesn't believe in equal and fair debate! Remember liberals are only liberal when you agree with them) It seems he has truly managed to pull the wool over constituents' eyes. In my view he should of been desel ected long ago for his disloyalty to previous party leaders and to the party. Now the Daily Telegraph have revealed he didn't pay Capital Gains Tax from profits on a second home sale going back to 2003 after 'flippin' his first and second home, but cool John Bercow just plays it down in local papers who seem to fall for his line, 'I don't think I owe anything but my accountant will send them a cheque for £6,500 and if I don't owe anything, they can give it to charity'. (what a generous guy I am).
 
 
Nick said:
Responded: Wednesday, 17 June 2009
I saw an article a while back saying that his problem is that he discovered Labour and Sex at the same time. Surely the best way to stop him is to ensure that he doesn't get support from three Tories, without that he can't even stand.
 
 
Graham Smith said:
Responded: Wednesday, 17 June 2009
I have always found John Bercow to be a most agreeable individual. But then, this has always been in "set piece" situations. Indeed, unlike Ann Widdecombe who seems to have an amazing ability of recall, taking several questions at a time and then answering them in order, Mr Bercow gives the impression that he is ill-at-ease when in a fast-moving question and answer session. I wonder how that would translate to chairing a debate in the House? Or will he simply follow convention and work his way through a prepared list when determining who is to speak next?
 
 
Ryland said:
Responded: Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Hi quick post on all of the fuss about it being 2 or 3 Labour speakers in a row... do people also think it is wrong that from 1880 to 1976 there were only Conservative speakers. The issue of it being turn and turn about has only been an issue since Labour has had two in a row. Ryland (Labour councillor)
 
 
corporeal said:
Responded: Wednesday, 17 June 2009
"I saw an article a while back saying that his problem is that he discovered Labour and Sex at the same time. Surely the best way to stop him is to ensure that he doesn't get support from three Tories, without that he can't even stand." I don't think he needs three Tories, just three from opposing parties, not his own.
 
 
Nick said:
Responded: Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Would you agree with this statement? "I've said before that the Speaker's position and authority should be un-challenged. Over hundreds of years we have had good and bad Speakers, nice and nasty, competent and useless. It is the only position, along with that of the Monarch, which I believe should remain un-challenged in order to carry the authority needed to execute the role with dignity whilst commanding respect." After all, you did make it less than a month ago... I dount this will be published, but it's worth a try anyway!
 
 
ToryBoy said:
Responded: Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Well said, Nadine. About time someone spoke up.
 
 
Jasmine said:
Responded: Wednesday, 17 June 2009
There is something not right about possibly electing as speaker, someone who does not have the respect of MPs, and I agree with you that Bercow may be such a one.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Well said Nadine. Why are your lot so weak and pathetic? As a stunning woman, you show the lot of them up.You are the Widders replacement :)
 
 
Mrs B said:
Responded: Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Who wants a bottler for a Speaker? the chief task will be to return the House of Commons to credibility - democratic government, without partiality from the Speaker. I hope for 11 months of Ann Widdecombe, who is to be trusted, has the head for detail mentioned above, and an incisive mind: she would be extremely effective in restoring Parliament.
 
 
Michael said:
Responded: Thursday, 18 June 2009
I dont agree at all about your comments about John Bercow. I have known John for 25 years and your remarks bear no resemblance to the person I know. By the way in case you are wondering I have been a party member for 30 years and have always voted Conservative, given money to the party and stood for them on a number of occasions. You imply that John Bercow is a socialist. He is not and never has been and to the best of my knowledge he never considered crossing the floor of the House of Commons. The fact that his wife votes for a different party is not remarkable or a disqualification to stand for Speaker. I believe John Bercow has shown himself to be an independent minded MP who is able to stand up to the party whips.Isnt that what we want from the Speaker -not another slave to party politics. And lets not forget he was against ID cards when the rest of the Conservative Party was in favour of them including the current leader. I can think of no better candidate. By the way there is no case for an interim Speaker - it is quite simply without precedent in our constitution. But what is more concerning is that the case for an interim Speaker is being put forward as a cynical view to enable the Conservative Front Bench to control the choice of Speaker after an election. That is a very sinister attempt to control the election and Parliament. The Consevatives in Parliament face a simple choice -support John Bercow or get Margaret Beckett who regards the role as a consoliation prize after being fired for a second time from Gordon Brown's cabinet. I hope that Conservative MPs wake up and support the only Conservative MP who can win.
 
 
Simon said:
Responded: Saturday, 20 June 2009
What will this Government’s legacy be? Will they burst the ball because they are losing the match? Have they learnt anything from the last few scandalous weeks? The next speaker must be ‘whiter than white’ in their expense claims record and have the trust of all MPs and the general public; which suggest Anne Widdicombe may come up on the rails with a storming finish to win by half a length over Margaret Beckett in second and Sir George Young a further length behind. in third. Pulled up John Bercow and non runner Frank Field.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Sunday, 21 June 2009
Comments on Bercow 16.06.09 Conservative Home blog http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2009/06/why-john-bercow-is-the-right-choice-to-be-speaker.html#tpe-action-posted-6a00d83451b31c69e20115702538af970c Inspector Morgan said... There are 4 reasons to oppose a Bercow speakership. 1 He has been running for the position for years, a highly distasteful, unparliamentarily and self-centred defiance of British tradition that coarsens our public life. The Chair is something that one is discreetly canvassed for by friends and dragged to reluctantly when elected. Nobody, not even the atrocious Speaker Martin, has so damaged the aura around the Speakership before even being elected. The Chair is one of those things from which wanting it too crudely disqualifies you. This alone is a necessary and sufficient reason to rule Bercow out. Second, Bercow is a person of such low character that he could never deserve to attain such a high office of state and indeed would taint that office. His legendary capacity to betray friends, allies and causes - a pattern he has repeated throughout his life since his teens - is one symptom of this. Friends (I was one) and colleagues of his also all agree on his self-absorption, need for continual praise and manic craving for personal publicity. He might qualify as host of Have I Got News For You but that really is the closest a person of such gigantic personal flaws and shallow showmanship should be allowed to the Speakership of the Commons. Third, as if proof were needed of his all-consuming addiction for personal publicity, they key point of his manifesto is that he intends unilaterally to upgrade the role to near Queenly status. The Speakership as it has always been is not a big enough canvas, he implies, for his genius. He will be the Commons ambassador, its public advocate, the man who represents parliament. The base motive is plain - he craves a place on the GMTV sofa, the magazine covers, opening public buildings, hosting foreign heads of state, attention, attention, attention. Those who know him recognise instantly that this is the true purpose of his candidacy and all else is flummery. Finally, supporters of this truly little man have to address one massive and immovable fact that stands in their way. The unchangeable truth is that Bercow is hated by the Parliamentary Conservative Party almost to a man. His election would be a defeat for his own party and he would, in reality, be the 3rd consecutive Labour Speaker. It doesn't matter why he is so hated but let no one suggest it is for long-forgotten youthful misjudgements, such as his multiple sellouts of his supporters when he was a student. It is because of his behaviour in the Commons. Those who defend Bercow cast an aspersion on not just the political judgement but also the judgement of a colleague as a personal level and as a human being, of practically every Conservative MP male and female. Given that all sources agree Bercow is loathed by nearly every (many say all but one) Tory MP male and female, it is the most extraordinary hubris to maintain a contrary judgement on a matter that affects our MPs intimately. If you are yourself a Conservative you must believe our MPs from the Leader down have judgement good enough to run this country. It is impossible to also maintain their unanimous judgement about this one person is in error. 190 Conservative MPs cannot all be wrong. In any case, regardless of how completely the disgust Bercow has brought upon himself from Conservatives is justified, the fact is they don't want him. Nothing can change their minds and therefore, they shouldn't have him imposed on them as an act of spite by the Labour Party and a few renegade Tory collaborators.
 
 
 
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