Brexiteer tables no confidence motion in Bercow - but it fails to win support of colleagues
PUBLISHED: 16:05 23 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:12 23 April 2019
A Tory Brexiteer MP has tabled a motion of no confidence in speaker John Bercow claiming that 100 MPs supported to principle - but had to sign it in just his name because of a lack of support.
Former minister Crispin Blunt's early-day motion (EDM) failed to find enough MPs willing to sign it, and said he would not publish the names of backers unless they hit three figures.
He said he was doing this in order to avoid exposing them to “retribution” by Bercow.
Bercow infuriated Brexiteer Tories with decisions including a block on Theresa May repeatedly tabling her Withdrawal Agreement in the hope of whittling down opposition.
EDMs - which are not allocated any time in the parliamentary timetable - are rarely debated or voted on, but are used by MPs as a vehicle to express their views on a particular issue.
The Reigate MP's motion states that is “impossible” for the Commons to sustain the belief in the impartiality of the speaker which is “indispensable” for its successful operation.
Blunt said that Bercow's decisions on Brexit had been “wholly partial” and helped contribute to “national paralysis” on the issue.
“Whilst I am disappointed there are not yet 100 colleagues prepared to openly side with me, I believe I would be failing to stand up for the integrity of parliament if I did not formally record my protest against his bias,” he told the Press Association.
Blunt claimed that more than 100 MPs were concerned about Mr Bercow's behaviour, but said that members of the Government do not conventionally sign EDMs.
“Many others continue to fear the consequences of being against a Sspeaker who has such influence over their Parliamentary life, even if they had 100 supporters,” he said.
“Some will only support a motion if it was certain to succeed in removing the speaker. Given that his partiality is in accord with the Remain majority of the House and many can't sign EDMs, that is an impossible ask.”