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14 February 2017

Conservative MPs try to rally support to overthrow John Bercow

Karl McCartney, the Tory MP for Lincoln, has contacted every member of the House of Commons urging them to move against the Speaker. 

By Stephen Bush

Karl McCartney, the Conservative MP for Lincoln, has written to every single MP in the House of Commons as the bid to unseat John Bercow takes on greater seriousness. Saying that Bercow’s decision to “unilaterally” bar Donald Trump from speaking was a “breach of parliamentary protocol”, McCartney describes the move as “showing contempt for democracy”, urging his fellow MPs to join him in voting against the Speaker. 

But making the vote a referendum on allowing Trump to address MPs will likely limit the scale of the revolt against Bercow, who retains the support of a significant chunk of Conservative MPs as well as the various opposition parties. 

The full letter is below.

Dear Colleague,

I am contacting you as I am aware a number of colleagues do not normally sign EDMs and so are unaware or unsure of the easy way to support the Motion of No Confidence in Speaker Bercow as put down by our colleague James Duddridge MP.

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The recent outburst by the Speaker, unilaterally barring the President of the United States – our closest ally – from addressing Members of Parliament, was a breach of parliamentary protocol that parallels no others that neither I, nor more senior Members can recall. It was also indicative of a growing trend in politics of people in powerful positions showing contempt for democracy and an electorate who have made their views crystal clear.

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The Speaker is the Chief Officer of the highest authority in the House of Commons and must be politically neutral and seen to be neutral at all times. He or she is, ultimately, the referee on the pitch of our proceedings, not a fellow player. Whether you agree with Speaker Bercow’s criticisms of President Trump or not, the very fact that he made those statements in the place and at the time that he did, at all, shows that he is not politically impartial and that his position is now untenable as his lack of neutrality on a number of issues has manifested itself wider than just Parliament.

I hope you will join me in supporting the EDM and Motion of No Confidence in Speaker Bercow and please do email or give me a call if you would like to discuss this further.

Kind regards,

Karl