Video: desperate Tories declare open season on Bercow – he comes out hilariously on top

Speaker John Bercow today as desperate Tories rounded on him for allowing MPs a vote

There have been dramatic scenes this afternoon in the House of Commons as the government tried desperately to prevent MPs having the opportunity to vote on an amendment calling on the government to come promptly back to the Commons for a new vote if Theresa May’s dismal Brexit deal is voted down, as expected, next week.

Bercow had ruled that MPs would be allowed to vote on an amendment demanding that Theresa May and her ministers return to give MPs a further ‘meaningful vote’ on the latest state of her deal within three days if her current deal is voted down next week, instead of taking another month.

The motion is not even binding, nor is the amendment – but May’s desperation to avoid it could not have been clearer as Tory MP after Tory MP, back bench and front, rounded on him during a ‘points of order’ session over an hour long a full to try to force, embarrass or browbeat him into changing his decision.

The attack began with procedural objections, but then moved onto accusations that Bercow was demeaning the dignity of his position and outright attacks on his integrity, punctuated with jeers and catcalls while Labour MPs and the very occasional Tory backbencher were forced to defend him.

When abuse and petulance failed, the Tories resorted to wild unreason. James Cleverly showed that his direness isn’t confined to social media by pleading that if Bercow wouldn’t change his decision, couldn’t he at least make it about something the government didn’t object to so much – before one of his colleagues then handed the moral victory to Bercow on a silver platter.

The excerpts below give a flavour of the unseemly, often dramatic and sometimes plain ugly behaviour of the government and its supporters – and the way in which a closing gaffe gave the bout conclusively to the Speaker:

Bercow under siege in the Commons – before coming out on top

SKWAWKBOX comment:

However amusing the conclusion of the affair, the ugly Tory tantrum in attempting to block the vote on the amendment speaks volumes about the depths of sheer bankruptcy on the government benches at the moment.

The motion is not binding, so losing it – as the Tories eventually did – is a political embarrassment and puts political pressure on the government. If Theresa May ignores the amended motion, there will be a political cost – but a Prime Minister and government with any strength or credibility would be able to weather that cost if they had to.

The fact that May – even with the complicity and assistance of the vast majority of the ‘mainstream’ media – was prepared to put on such a naked display of desperation to try to avoid the vote is a clear demonstration of the utter hollowness of her position, intellect and morale.

And it’s just as clear a sign that if the Tories had the good of the nation even remotely at heart, May would be on her way to ask the Queen to dissolve the government and call a general election so the grown-ups can take over.

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  1. You’re missing the bigger picture. The impartiality of the Speaker used to be the absolute core of the role. In our lifetimes it was never seriously questioned during the long tenures of Speakers Thomas, Wetherill, Boothroyd and even disgraced Speaker Martin. As a result it did not terribly matter who was elected Speaker, since whoever was chosen displayed a high degree of impartiality and was never besmirched by accusations of partisanship in any substantial way.

    By contrast the long-term impact of the Speaker’s decision may well be to make the role partisan. Don’t assume that this would always be in Labour’s interests. It is more likely to be used in favour of parliamentary establishmentarian centrism against leftish leaders. You need to think longer term, Skwark!

  2. Brexit has shown more now than ever, how incompetent the majority of MPs are and really how out of touch they are from there constituents, and by this I mean extreme side of remain and leave, making parliament look a sham for privilege.

  3. Bercow will probably be forced out earlier now, for his flagrant breach of hundreds of years of tradition. However to his credit he sees the contempt TM the PM has for all of us and sees the bigger picture of democracys credibility being at stake after TM was willing to kick the can down the road until parliament was forced knuckle under.

  4. When we were growing up in the 1950’s, we always remember the older generation telling us how the tories were always against the working classes. That sentiment has never been more exact than in the last 40 years of this commenters life so far. This shambles of a rabble rousing government have absolutely no sympathy for their constituents and even less for the rule of the House of Parliament. It is like a Punch and Judy show now. GET THEM OUT OF POWER, NEVER TO BE VOTED IN EVER AGAIN. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Danny, Bercow was a Tory with a reputation as a right-winger when he was elected. Furthermore, his decision here is aimed at giving the Commons as opposed to the Government, more power. If May had a working majority in the Commons, the amendment wouldn’t have passed. The alleged bias is kind of irrelevant in that context.

    1. The bias is not pro opposition, but pro democracy. That is why it seems Bercow is breaking with tradition and acting against the govt, but in fact he (and i have no personal liking for him) is defending the HoC against an authoritarian, antidemocratic regime.

  6. The original amendment voted on was submitted by the Tory Dominic Grieve & even Betty Boothroyd criticised his ruling . Impartiality, like justice, should not only be done, but be seen to be done & parading a ‘bollocks to brexit’ sticker in one of your family cars at best demonstrates poor judgement.

    1. as he said – he isn’t doing that. you have used the passive voice in your statement, without a subject, to deliberately hide the ‘he is’….parading a sticker etc. The fact is he isn’t parading a sticker. his wife is.

      1. Yeah but he ‘shares a platform’ with her and if Corbyn can be condemned on that basis why not Bercow?

    2. The speakers wife is entitled to put what ever sticker she likes in her car, just as you are. I know what I would do if my husband suggested that I remove political or any other type of sticker from my car. Question is it really about The Speaker allowing the amendment or that you are a rattled leave voter.

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