LONDON — An attempt to oust John Bercow as House of Commons Speaker over his plan to block US President Donald Trump from speaking in Westminster Hall looks to be failing.
An early day motion of no confidence filed by Conservative MP James Duddridge earlier this month has received the signatures of just four other MPs, despite earlier claims that 150 MPs were prepared to back it.
Duddridge filed the motion against Bercow in response to the Speaker’s announcement that he will ban Trump from addressing MPs and House of Lords members from Westminster Hall when the President makes a UK state visit.
Bercow then came under increased pressure after footage emerged of the Speaker telling students at the University of Reading that he voted Remain in the EU referendum and explaining the biggest issues facing Britain in negotiations.
Duddridge argues that Bercow’s decision to take public positions on Trump and Brexit has brought his role as Speaker into disrepute. Parliamentary rules state that Commons Speakers must be impartial, even in retirement.
However, despite the MP for Rochford and Southend East’s complaints, his attempt to remove Bercow has so far failed to make any real impact. Here is the list of MPs who have added their names to the motion at the time of writing.
As the picture above shows, the MPs behind the motion are all from Bercow’s own Conservative Party: Andrew Bridgen, Daniel Kawczynski, Karl McCartney, Alec Shelbrooke, and Duddridge.
More MPs could come forward to back the motion later this week, the Times reports today.
However, the report adds that even MPs who initially agreed to back a motion are now cautious to do so as they do not want to become associated with a motion that is destined for failure. “People are very soft here. They are prepared to put their names forward if there is safety in numbers,” a source told the newspaper.
Bercow also still has the support from many MPs in the Commons despite recent controversies.
Cross-party efforts to protect the Speaker from an attempted overthrow are already underway and MPs from Duddridge’s own Tory party have publicly declared support for him.
Sarah Wollaston MP, who chairs the Health Committee in the House of Commons, said earlier this month that Bercow “discussed his personal views in private with students, hardly a crisis.”
An attempt to get rid of Bercow in 2015 fell flat on its face when a majority of MPs blocked an attempt by then cabinet ministers Michael Gove and William Hague to elect Speakers by secret ballot.
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