Peter Hoskin

Things the Speaker shouldn’t discuss in public

Things the Speaker shouldn't discuss in public
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As Andrew Sparrow says, it's well worth reading Iain Dale's interview with John Bercow in the latest issue Total Politics.  It's a fun read, mostly because the Speaker is remarkably candid – a quality that's normally to be admired in a politician.  But I can't help thinking that he made a mistake in admitting this:  

"I received various approaches from various senior people in the Labour party saying: 'Aw, you know, we'd love to have you on board. We think you're being discarded by the Conservatives. We think you'd be quite at home with us.' Senior people, not in a formal setting, but people sidling up to you – ex-ministers, current ministers, backbenchers, whatever. And, I always said no, because I felt at heart that I was most comfortable being a [Conservative] for a whole variety of philosophical and practical reasons."

Now, you could say that we're already aware of the controversy surrounding Bercow's politics and politicking.  But this seems to be a rather showy way of dragging the whole issue up again – and the only thing it's likely to achieve is to aggravate those Tories who would have preferred to see someone like Sir George Young at the front of the House.  With the Speakership intended to be an impartial role, he should avoid making a big deal out of his position on the political spectrum, either way.