Like many I’ve often been irritated by John Bercow particularly at the lengthy interjections he likes to make at PMQs which can appear like grandstanding.
It is said that his approach to the role is anti-Tory, a view I don’t hold. If he appears that way it is down to the fact that for the vast majority of his time in the job the Tories have been in power and inevitably the executive hates anything that impedes their actions.
Basically he is just sticking up for the elected members of the House against a government that gives the impression of being reluctant to recognise that it should be accountable to the elected members.
This has been more the case since TMay entered Number 10 as evidenced by the way she put back the Brexit deal vote last month until today. That move alone more than justifies Bercow’s approach and the way he uses his powers to select amendments and the like.
Sometimes, maybe, he oversteps the mark but I’d prefer that to a Speaker who simply kowtows to what Number 10 wants in many cases cutting out the views of elected MPs.
This is a big moment in Britain’s political history and we mustn’t forget that much of Mrs May’s predicament is self made. She, on the advice apparently of DDavis, called the last election three years early to shore up her small majority and ended up with no majority at all. That inevitably diminished her authority as well as creating an ongoing dilemma for the government when it comes to tight votes.
Arguably, as well, she made a huge mistake in triggering the rigid timetable of Article 50 process before the government had worked out precisely what it wanted and what it was going to do. That wasn’t Bercow’s fault but Number 10`s misjudgement.
Labour for all their protestations cannot moan on the Article 50 timing. Remember that on the day after the referendum in June 2016 Mr Corbyn called for the immediate invoking of Article 50.