Can he hang on?
When the report on sexual harassment in the Palace of Westminster came out yesterday I thought that Bercow was extremely lucky over the timing.
Everything at the moment is so focused on the critical stages in Britain’s exit from the EU that what in normal times would be a colossal political development was going to get sidelined.
This morning’s newspapers suggest otherwise and my initial view was wrong. Although print circulations are drastically down on the glory days what goes on the front pages of the main national newspapers can have a political impact. That the Times is leading on the report this morning keeps the pot boiling.
Although the report does not mention anybody by name the Speaker does have overall responsibility for all things within the Commons and some of the guarded phrases in the report were clearly pointing at Mr Bercow.
Undoubtedly there is clearly a culture in the Palace of Westminster which needs to be sorted and the question is how that is to be done. This is quite difficult because MPs are not employees in the normal sense of the word. They are there because they have won an election and although there is a recall procedure it is hard to see how that can apply here.
Bercow is no stranger to controversy following his election after his predecessor, Michael Martin, resigned a decade ago. In many ways I think he has done a good job because he’s always been prepared to hold the executive to account and to make the Commons matter. You can see why ministers and those in government might at times be very frustrated with him but his approach has surely been the right one in a parliamentary democracy.
In the next speaker betting Bercow’s deputy, the popular Lindsay Hoyle, is the odds on favourite to replace him. The question is whether there will be a contest.
Bercow’s response to the report could be crucial.