Monday 14 December 2009

Bercow running scared

John Bercow, the current speaker of the House of Commons, is so scared of losing his seat to Nigel Farage in next year's general election that he has suggested creating a new constituency just for himself which no party will be allowed to contest.

The suggestion is that MPs create a new constituency called St Stephens (named after the chapel in Westminster Palace) in which nobody would be allowed to stand on a party ticket.  The only constituents would be MPs.

This is all personally reasonable - the convention that the Speaker doesn't campaign in an election and that the Speaker doesn't act as a constituency MP in Parliament means that tens of thousands of people in his or her constituency are deprived of effective parliamentary representation.  But the driving force behind this suggestion isn't a professional concern on the part of Bercow for his constituents, it's a selfish and desperate suggestion to save his political career.

If this suggestion is taken forward by MPs then much will be made of how much more democratic it will be and how it will benefit the electorate.  But MPs won't dare take it further and give us all a vote for the new constituency and allow the entire electorate vote for a Speaker.

But do MPs have the ability to create a new constituency with their own rules on whim just to protect one of their own?  Surely the independent Electoral Commission is responsible for such things? Not according to John Bercow: "The House of Commons can always decide to do that if it wants".  MPs can give create seats for themselves and make up rules to stop anyone from unseating them.  Who'd have thought it, eh?


ukipwebmaster said...

I'm really looking forward to putting up videos of Nigel speaking at Westminster.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait, UKW!

If Bercow gets his wish, it will be Labour that enabled it, which will ensure that they get clobbered even harder at the GE.

Go for it, Labour!