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30 April 2012

Bercow summons Cameron to the Commons

Speaker angers Tories by ordering PM to answer an urgent question on Jeremy Hunt.

By George Eaton

Against expectations, David Cameron has been summoned to the House of Commons to answer an urgent question on his refusal to order an inquiry into Jeremy Hunt’s handling of the BSkyB bid. Downing Street argued that Cameron, who was due to visit Milton Keynes today, had already addressed the subject at last week’s PMQs but the Speaker, John Bercow, rightly thought otherwise.

Cameron’s insistence that the Leveson inquiry would decide Hunt’s fate was unsatisfactory since, as Leveson himself pointed out, it is not his job to rule on ministerial conduct. Bercow, who is already loathed by many senior Tories, will be even less popular after today’s decision. Below, ConservativeHome editor Tim Montgomerie offers a flavour of No. 10’s reaction.

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Labour notes this is the first time that a prime minister has been called to answer an urgent question in the Commons since they were introduced ten years ago. Cameron’s statement is due at 3:30pm and will be followed by a response from Ed Miliband. We’ll have full coverage on The Staggers this afternoon.

Update: Speaking on The World At One, Sayeeda Warsi has pointed out that Cameron answered questions on Hunt during his appearance on The Andrew Marr Show, thus ignoring the fact that this is not a Parliamentary forum. Bercow, who has done much to restore Parliament to its proper status, rightly insisted that Cameron come to the chamber.