Coffee House

Michael Fabricant sharpens his attack on John Bercow

4 September 2014

MPs are continuing to chip away at John Bercow as best they can. At questions following the Business Statement in the Commons this morning, Simon Burns repeated his question about that ‘floating’ letter that he mentioned after Prime Minister’s Questions and which the Prime Minister has been joking about to Tory MPs.

Hague pointed out that ‘things do not float around in Number 10. That is not the way Number 10 operates, I’m very pleased to say. The Prime Minister has received a letter this week from you, Mr Speaker, I’m sure you don’t mind me saying, in which you ask that the appointment of Carol Mills is delayed further until a clear way forward on this issue has been agreed. And so that is the current status of the letter rather than any… floating.’

But the issue remained floating about the Chamber, and sure enough, at the end of the session, up popped Michael Fabricant and Simon Burns to press further questions. Fabricant wanted to get the Speaker’s response to his letter, published on Coffee House yesterday, in which he suggested the Speaker may have inadvertently misled the House. Bercow said:

‘Let me reiterate to him that I believe him to be incorrect. The panel, of which I was chair, was briefed about all of the applicants for the post of Clerk and Chief Executive and I think he’s quite wrong to say that there was prevention of Saxton Bampfylde giving information to the panel, the panel made a judgement on the material with which it was provided, including a piece of information provided to it on the occasion of the second set of interviews. The panel made its own judgement on the basis of that information and did not see any need for a meeting as I think the honourable gentleman has in mind. There is no question of prevention, the panel made its own judgement and that was perfectly proper. And I would also reiterate to the honourable gentleman, who was courteous enough to also raise another point with me yesterday, what I said in response to him then, namely that the individual whose name he bandies around in the House, that of Carol Mills, was indeed on the original list of proposed interviewees. The honourable gentleman put it to me that she had not been, I told him that she had been, and I do have one slight advantage over the honourable gentleman in this matter and that is I was there and I do know and he wasn’t, and he doesn’t.’


Bercow was much more calm and reasonable today, and was helped by a very clear point of order from Julian Lewis, who complained about this barrage of ‘bogus’ points of order. There is certainly a groundswell of frustration from some colleagues that some MPs are pursuing this campaign quite so fervently. But Fabricant says he has the support not just of colleagues but of Parliamentary staff. He tells Coffee House:

‘I have had so many messages of support from junior employees of the House saying go for it, the Speaker is a c***. I don’t use language like that, but I do think he can be a bit of a knob. He doesn’t inspire loyalty at any level it seems.’

There is of course a danger of this appearing a campaign against Bercow himself, rater than his behaviour over the Clerk appointment. The organisers of the original revolt were very careful to avoid such an impression.

Some of those campaigning against the Clerk appointment do think the Speaker is damaged, but that he will survive until the General Election, when they predict he will find that the House does not unanimously reappoint him on his return, thereby sparking a division. MPs do not normally vote on reappointing the speaker, so any division would be a serious blow to the Speaker’s authority.

Chances are now that unless further information emerges about the Speaker’s involvement in Carol Mills’ recruitment, then the row will quieten down for a little bit, until the backbench debate on governance of the House.

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  • Richard Stringer

    Nearly all politicians are c**ts, they care about themselves and their rich friends and look down on anyone poor or disabled. They take full advantage of the expenses accounts they have and appear to want to pay for very little with their own money. Plus a lot of them try to get away with paying as little tax as possible, yet they jump on anyone of the general public who even so much as accidentally fills in a tax form incorrectly by fining them upto £1,000. Most politicians are greedy, persecuting, ruthless, selfish, judgemental people who don’t deserve the amount of wages they get or to be called honorable gentlemen as they call each other which is basically them kissing each other’s bottoms and showing how arrogant and elitist they think they all are.

  • Yeriz

    Despicable fellow, voted into office by despicable people

  • Yeriz

    Disreputable and despicable person, put in office by like minded people.

  • Yeriz

    Bercow, unprincipled, distasteful person, put in office by like minded.

  • Marvin

    Send him and his wife to have a chat with ISIS, then we can get rid of two donkeys.

  • Jock

    Fabricant manages to make Bercow look dignified and worthy of sympathy. Quite an achievement. He should leave the field and strengthen the anti – Bercow team.

  • Wyrdtimes

    My MP Fabbo is great when it comes to his favourite issues: Wales, gay rights and the speaker. Sadly he’s not so good on issues such as thousands of old folks in his constituency being ruined by the price of care after paying into the system all their lives. Care that doesn’t cost a penny elsewhere in the “UK”.

  • Jen The Blue

    The simple fact is that the Speaker should command respect from all in the House. He (or she) is there to serve the house unobtrusively and fairly. The position does not exist for personal aggrandizement or ambition.
    If a speaker cannot command the support of all, he or she should resign. If Bercow had any honour, he would have gone, long ago.

    • jeffersonian

      Perhaps we can tempt Lady Boothroyd back from the Lords?

  • SonofBoudica

    John Bercowich, to give him his ancestral name, will do anything to hang on to his power base as Speaker. The role belongs to him, rather than the Speakership belonging to the Commons. And MPs wonder why they are mistrusted and detested by most people?

  • swatnan

    Blondie and Burnsey two unaccepatable faces of the Tory Party; now add a third Bercow.

    • SonofBoudica

      Bercowitch is a closet member of the Labour Party.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Says a lot about Bercow that two Labour trolls are defending him here!

  • davebush999

    Silly Mickey Fabricant is an obsessive idiot and should grow up. His campaign is based on nothing more than having being told off by Bercow. Julian Lewis had it completely right today when he spoke of certain members raising bogus points of order.

    • yaosxx

      What a silly boy you are if you actually believe the nonsense you have written!!!

      • crackenthorp

        and what a tw*t you are

        • yaosxx

          What, for being honest about your stupid comment…? Oh dear, the truth hurts doesn’t it baby boy! Run along now to CCHQ into the arms of mummy Cameron!!!

          • crackenthorp

            Tell me do you practice at being stupid or does it come naturally to you?

            • yaosxx

              Well you’re the “pro” in that respect – you tell me…?

              • Yankswanks

                It comes through him practising daily .

    • chouenlai

      You may well call Fabricant silly, but he did not marry Sally Bercow.

      • Chris Morriss

        Oh Lord, Sally Bercova. She makes my flesh creep.

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