Tories to stand against Speaker John Bercow at next election, Leadsom says

The Conservatives will field a candidate against Commons Speaker John Bercow at the next general election, Andrea Leadsom has said.

The Business Secretary revealed the move, a breach of long-standing convention, as she stepped up her feud with Mr Bercow, accusing him 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.

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

Speaker John Bercow
Speaker John Bercow faces a challenge in his Buckingham constiteency at the enxt election (PA Wire)

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.

Her comments come 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 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”.

Andrea Leadsom
Andrea Leadsom has long been at odds with John Bercow (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

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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