Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Will Labour MPs back Bercow?

Now that Michael Martin has finally gone, after what were surely two of the most ill-judged Commons performances of modern times last Monday and again yesterday, the question turns inevitably to the identity of his successor.

The key strategic questions for MPs will be what kind of Speaker they want to follow Gorbals Mick, and whether anyone currently tainted by the expenses scandal should be ruled out. To my mind, there are three options:

1. A "reforming Speaker" who will help draw a line under the expenses scandal and present a new, modern face to the electorate. In this event, the standout candidates from each of the main parties would be Tony Wright, John Bercow and Vince Cable. Cable, who still sees himself as David Cameron's first Chancellor, has already ruled himself out, which could allow fellow Lib Dem Sir Alan Beith to come into his own.

2. A "safe pair of hands" who can unite the House and pour balm on the current turmoil. In this event the overwhelmingly most likely choices are either Sir Alan Haselhurst or Sir Menzies Campbell, but both are vulnerable to criticism over their own expense claims.

3. An "interim Speaker" who will mind the shop until the next election, after which more far-reaching choice can be made. This would have to be someone who has already announced they are standing down, so Ann Widdecombe or Chris Mullin are the likeliest options if this route is followed.

One rumour currently sweeping Westminster is that Labour MPs are getting behind John Bercow, which could constitute sweet revenge as Bercow is not wildly popular in the Tory Party. By contrast, a lot of Tory MPs - and bloggers - are keen on Frank Field, who has about as many fans in the PLP as Joey Barton has in the Newcastle dressing room.

At this rate, the Speakership election on 22 June could bring (another) whole new meaning to the term "flipping."

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3 comments:

Robert said...

With out doubt it should be offered to somebody coming to the end, somebody who's time is up but as enough IQ or savvy to do the job, only one person I know could do this job. Gordon BROWN.

Technomist said...

Anne Widdicombe is suprisingly popular with the public

Robert said...

I still think Brown would be best get him out of the hot seat before his ass gets burned in June.