Speaker criticised for allowing ‘flagrant abuse’ of parliamentary process

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has accused Speaker John Bercow of breaking the rules of Parliament by allowing MPs to take control of Commons business.

In a stinging attack, Ms Leadsom said Mr Bercow had “failed” in his role and had permitted a “flagrant abuse” of parliamentary process.

Her comments, the latest in a long-running feud with the Speaker, come just days after MPs backed a motion to take control of the Commons timetable to pass legislation to block a no-deal Brexit.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Ms Leadsom said the Speaker’s role was to be “a politically impartial, independent umpire of proceedings” who was in place “to protect the constitution and oversee the behaviour of the House”.

“But last week, the current Speaker failed us,” she claimed.

Ms Leadsom said that by allowing MPs to use Standing Order Number 24 – a procedure used to trigger emergency debates – as a means of taking over Parliament’s timetable, Mr Bercow had not “just bent the rules, he has broken them”.

She said the Conservative Party, in a breach of convention, would field a candidate in Mr Bercow’s constituency of Buckingham at the next election as a result.

The Speaker of the Commons is an MP who stands in general elections but is usually unopposed by the major political parties.

“Give us back an impartial Speaker,” Ms Leadsom said.

She added: “What we saw on Tuesday was a flagrant abuse of this process.

“The standing order No.24 that the Opposition proposed wasn’t appropriate for a Motion.

“It was intended to ram through legislation for purely political motives.”

She said use of the standing order in such a way would lead “to the creation of bad laws” and acted as a “complete disregard to the will of the people”.

Ms Leadsom, who served as Leader of the Commons for almost two years, has clashed with Mr Bercow in the past.

In May last year the Speaker was alleged to have labelled Ms Leadsom as a “stupid woman”, as well as calling her “f****** useless”.

In March, Mr Bercow reprimanded Ms Leadsom for using her mobile phone during Commons business, while Ms Leadsom later accused the Speaker of failing to show MPs “courtesy and respect”.

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