William Hague plots downfall of ‘one sided’ Bercow – new powers to ‘constrain’ Speaker

Tory Mr Hague, who was the leader of the opposition when Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair ran the nation, said he expects the current behaviour of Mr Bercow is the beginning of the end for him and whoever gets his position after – or if – he stands down. Mr Hague told the Daily Telegraph: “No one can pretend that the British political system has functioned well as it has struggled with Brexit: the country and the world have looked on with growing despair as a much respected democracy has failed to agree, even on its own rules. “With each constitutional row – the attempt to prorogue parliament for five weeks, the Supreme Court slapping down the Government, the Commons forcing the Prime Minister to send a letter he hates, the one-sided rulings of the Speaker – the calls for a written constitution have grown.”

He added: “There are many lessons from the impasse of recent months – constraining the powers of the Commons Speaker and repealing the FTPA among them.

“But as the parties draft their election pledges, they would be wise to steer clear of promising to write down our constitution.

“It would become a long and fractious journey, very probably with no end.”

His words come after Mr Bercow – who is set to stand down in 48 hours – supported a last minute Labour plot to sabotage Boris Johnson’s general election.

Mr Bercow this morning allowed an amendment to the Early Election Bill tabled by Labour MP Stella Creasey, which would in turn allow MPs to table further amendments at a later stage – described by Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg as a “gateway to a wrecking amendment” has been passed by 312 to 295.

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It took four attempts for Jeremy Corbyn to support a general election called by Mr Johnson in order to break the Brexit deadlock.

Mr Corbyn said: “We have now heard from the EU that the extension of Article 50 to 31st January has been confirmed, so for the next three months, our condition of taking No Deal of the table has been met.”

The Commons backed the government’s election motion by 299 to 70 on Monday – but with Labour abstaining along with the Lib Dems and the SNP, Mr Johnson was well short of the number needed.

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No 10 accused Mr Bercow of denying MPs the chance to deliver on the will of the 17.4 million people who voted Leave.

MPs vented their frustrations to the Speaker’s face in fractious exchanges in the Commons chamber. Senior Conservative Sir Bernard Jenkin said it was “most unusual” for a Speaker to regularly stop a government from allowing its business to be debated.

The Brexiteer said the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee he chairs will hold an inquiry into the powers of the Speaker.

Sir Bernard told the Speaker: “I note the dilemmas you face mean on occasion you will sometimes have to please some and not others, but it is becoming remarkable how often you please one lot and not the other lot.”

Mr Bercow said: “My ruling is therefore that the motion will not be debated today as it would be repetitive and disorderly to do so.”

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Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “We are disappointed that the Speaker has yet again denied us the chance to deliver on the will of the British people.”


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