Speaker John Bercow faces revolt over Carol Mills appointment: Does parliamentary clerk need experience?

The rebels argue that the most important part of the chief clerk’s job is to advise the Speaker on parliamentary procedure

John Bercow will try to convince MPs that the Parliament building should not be run by someone whose working life has been spent studying parliamentary procedure.

The Speaker is facing a revolt over the choice of the Australian Carol Mills to be the next clerk of the House of Commons. The rebels argue that the most important part of the chief clerk’s job is to advise the Speaker on parliamentary procedure, a role for which Ms Mills has no obvious qualifications.

But one of the MPs involved in the appointment said: “Some people are using this as an excuse to have a go at John Bercow. I’m not saying he’s perfect, but the decision was taken by consensus.

“It’s not obvious that the best person to run an operation that costs £250m a year and has 2,000 members of staff is someone who has spent 40 years making a careful study of parliamentary procedure.”

Traditionally, the Clerk of the Commons has been Parliament’s chief legal adviser and the ultimate boss of the staff employed there.

Comments