Tories plot to unseat John Bercow, while other parties rally

John Bercow at the Bucks Herald ENGPNL00120120806121454
John Bercow at the Bucks Herald ENGPNL00120120806121454

Karl McCartney, the Conservative MP for Lincoln, has written to every single MP in the House of Commons in a bid to unseat John Bercow after he took on Donald Trump last week.

It has been left to Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP MPs to rally around Mr Bercow after Tory James Duddridge tabled a parliamentary motion of no confidence in him as Speaker. He survived an attempt to oust him orchestrated by the Conservative front bench under David Cameron and this time would be very likely to have the backing of opposition parties to continue until he steps down voluntarily, most likely towards the end of this parliament.

The row was triggered by Mr Bercow backing MPs opposing the US president addressing Parliament in the historic Westminster Hall during his State visit expected in June. Criticising Mr Trump’s travel ban for citizens from seven largely Muslim countries, the Speaker said: “As far as this place is concerned, I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism, and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations.” His intervention swiftly sparked accusations that he had strayed from the political impartiality expected of the Speaker. Downing Street has stressed that the row is a matter for Parliament and a revolt against the Speaker is unlikely to succeed without tacit Government backing. Mr Bercow’s stance, though, caused a clash with Lord Speaker Lord Fowler, who vowed to keep an “open mind” about Mr Trump addressing Parliament. Bercow has already apologised to his counterpart in the House of Lords, Norman Fowler, for not consulting him before expressing the view that Trump should be allowed to address parliament during the upcoming state visit.