Friday, 1 January 2010

Guardian Tip Edward Leigh in Speakership Challenge

The Guardian is tipping local parliamentarian Edward Leigh MP for a possible Speakership bid following the General Election, expected on Thursday 6th May 2010.

It is well known that the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP, who replaced Michael Martin MP - who was forced to resign last year over the MPs Expences scandal - has always been a centrist in the Conservative Party's ranks; whilst the Catholic, Member of Parliament for the Gainsborough Constituency - which covers Gainsborough, Caistor, Market Rasen and the Lincoln fringe (villages like Cherry Willingham, Nettleham and Welton) - has always been on the right flank of the Conservative Party.

The Guardian reports that:
"Tory MPs are pushing for the removal of the Speaker of the Commons, John Bercow, should their party win the next general election, with the right of the Conservative party beginning to mobilise for the backbencher Edward Leigh to take over the role...

"Conservative MPs have remained uncomfortable with Bercow since he was elected amid much fanfare last May. Although a Tory, Bercow won the position largely with Labour support and he has irritated MPs with his muscular style of chairing Commons debates.

"Tory MPs also feel that a decision by Bercow's wife, Sally, to criticise the Conservative leader, David Cameron, and run as a Labour candidate in this May's local elections has politicised his position and made it untenable."
Mr. Leigh is Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (The Guardian mistakenly attribute Mr. Leigh as Chairman of the Public Administration Committee in reality chaired by Dr. Tony Wright) and president of the rightwing Cornerstone group.

The paper suggests that senior backbenchers believe supporting him would placate the right of the party in the period immediately after coming to office, when Cameron's initial steps might not allow him to make many inroads into tax or Europe policy.

The article suggests that the Cornerstone group represents around 30 - 40 parliamentarians, and if the Conservatives win the General Election with a majority of that order they would demand an election for the role of Speaker in return for their voting bloc.

The Times yesterday reported that CCHQ has made it clear to members in Bercow's Buckingham constituency that any one helping Nigel Farage, the former leader of the Unied Kingdom Independence Party who plans to challenge and want to unseat Mr. Bercow would be ejected from the party, apparently following concerns expressed by the local Conservative Association.

The Guardian predict that the issue is likely to break into the open when the Procedure Committee reports and calls for a fully contested election for the position of Speaker and Deputy Speakers.One of the committee members, Christopher Chope MP, Conservative (Christchurch), is known to be mobilising against Mr. Bercow's Speakership.

Names of other possible challengers have included veteran Mr. Frank Field MP, Labour (Birkenhead), who is not universally popular with his own side and who would serve as a 'reverse Bercow' as it is believed that sufficient number of Conservative member sof parliament would support him.

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