Will Bercow still face a challenge in parliament?

He beat Farage but can he see off the Tory right?

John Bercow may have easily fought off Nigel Farage in Buckingham (he did have the safest Conservative seat in the country, after all) but it looks like he may yet face a challenge in Westminster.

The Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, an implacable opponent of Bercow, is said to be prepared to challenge his re-election as Speaker -- and it only takes one objection to trigger a formal vote.

As my colleage James Macintyre reported in his account of the right-wing plot against Bercow, Dorries has previously stated:

I for one will be studying the procedure to call a Speaker re-election . . . and will have [it] engrained on my heart [sic] ready to go when the Conservative Party take power.

I like to think that opposition MPs and the Lib Dems would prevent the unprecedented removal of a second Speaker, but should he fall, two possible replacements are under active discussion: Ming Campbell and Edward Leigh.

Leigh, the president of the 40-strong Cornerstone Group, was spotlighted by us earlier this year as one of the "ten people Dave should fear" and has long been touted by the right as an alternative Speaker. Ming, meanwhile, would be the first Liberal speaker since the Coalition Liberal John Henry Whitley, who held the post from 1921-28.

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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The economics of outrage: Why you haven't seen the end of Katie Hopkins

Her distasteful tweet may have cost her a job at LBC, but this isn't the last we've seen of Britain's biggest troll. 

Another atrocity, other surge of grief and fear, and there like clockwork was the UK’s biggest troll. Hours after the explosion at the Manchester Arena that killed 22 mostly young and female concert goers, Katie Hopkins weighed in with a very on-brand tweet calling for a “final solution” to the complex issue of terrorism.

She quickly deleted it, replacing the offending phrase with the words “true solution”, but did not tone down the essentially fascist message. Few thought it had been an innocent mistake on the part of someone unaware of the historical connotations of those two words.  And no matter how many urged their fellow web users not to give Hopkins the attention she craved, it still sparked angry tweets, condemnatory news articles and even reports to the police.

Hopkins has lost her presenting job at LBC radio, but she is yet to lose her column at Mail Online, and it’s quite likely she won’t.

Mail Online and its print counterpart The Daily Mail have regularly shown they are prepared to go down the deliberately divisive path Hopkins was signposting. But even if the site's managing editor Martin Clarke was secretly a liberal sandal-wearer, there are also very good economic reasons for Mail Online to stick with her. The extreme and outrageous is great at gaining attention, and attention is what makes money for Mail Online.

It is ironic that Hopkins’s career was initially helped by TV’s attempts to provide balance. Producers could rely on her to provide a counterweight to even the most committed and rational bleeding-heart liberal.

As Patrick Smith, a former media specialist who is currently a senior reporter at BuzzFeed News points out: “It’s very difficult for producers who are legally bound to be balanced, they will sometimes literally have lawyers in the room.”

“That in a way is why some people who are skirting very close or beyond the bounds of taste and decency get on air.”

But while TV may have made Hopkins, it is online where her extreme views perform best.  As digital publishers have learned, the best way to get the shares, clicks and page views that make them money is to provoke an emotional response. And there are few things as good at provoking an emotional response as extreme and outrageous political views.

And in many ways it doesn’t matter whether that response is negative or positive. Those who complain about what Hopkins says are also the ones who draw attention to it – many will read what she writes in order to know exactly why they should hate her.

Of course using outrageous views as a sales tactic is not confined to the web – The Daily Mail prints columns by Sarah Vine for a reason - but the risks of pushing the boundaries of taste and decency are greater in a linear, analogue world. Cancelling a newspaper subscription or changing radio station is a simpler and often longer-lasting act than pledging to never click on a tempting link on Twitter or Facebook. LBC may have had far more to lose from sticking with Hopkins than Mail Online does, and much less to gain. Someone prepared to say what Hopkins says will not be out of work for long. 

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