Could this be the man who’ll decide the next Speaker?

Could this be the man who’ll decide the next Speaker?

Is he a Bercow fan or does he have his own plans?

mandelson RH thin.JPGThe left-leaning Tory MP for Buckingham, John Bercow, continues to be the firm betting favourite to replace Michael Martin in the election a week on Monday and there’s a further write-up of his chances in the Daily Mail.

As the report notes: “Labour ministers are plotting to install a Left-wing Tory MP hated by his own leaders as Commons Speaker. Several senior members of the Cabinet have told the Mail they plan to back John Bercow in the race to succeed Michael Martin. Labour MPs are being quietly encouraged to back him in a move sure to infuriate David Cameron.”

But the big question is who is doing the “encouraging”. If it is the new super-controller of the nation with the longest job title, the “First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Lord President of the Council”, Lord Mandelson, then Bercow must be a near certainty. But if the good Lord has not indicated yet then things might not be so clear.

For after succeesssfully orchestrating the “Save Gord” operation Mandy now must be at the height of his power and even though, as a peer, he doesn’t have a vote in the June 22nd election by secret ballot his views will surely be critical in determining the final outcome.

And Mandy, is not going to be able to resist using his new and extraordinary power base within the party to influence something that is so important as the choice of Speaker of the House of Commons?

I just wonder whether doubts might arise in Mandy’s mind because of the way that Bercow’s political views seem to have changed so much since he first came on the scene – for he used to be a Monday Club right-winger.

Could the pendulum swing back? For assuming that the new speaker gets re-elected after Labour’s likely general election defeat the party wants someone in the job who it can be confident will be supportive of the rights of the opposition and holding the executive to account. And Bercow, who is just 46, would be in the job for a very long time.

Doing something that infuriates Cameron now might provide an instant appeal but they would have to live with the consequences for a very long time. And one thing that’s clear about Bercow is that he’s very much his own man.

Maybe we’ll have to wait until the Monday of the election itself before Mandy finally decides who he wants. And then the message will be passed round amongst Labour MPs and who are they not do do the noble Lord’s bidding – even in a secret ballot?

I still think Bercow is worth his favourite status but the betting could see many big moves in the coming ten days.

6.30am Wonderful news

Just heard that my elder daughter Cayt gave birth at 3am this morning to a baby boy. Both are doing fine. It’s her second child and my third grand-child.

Mike Smithson

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