Speaker John Bercow under pressure over appointment of Australian to senior Commons role

 

Senior Reporter

Plans to appoint an Australian official said to have no knowledge of parliamentary proceedings to the post of clerk of the House of Commons are in doubt, as a senior backbench MP promised to force a debate on the subject on the day Parliament resumes.

Commons Speaker John Bercow has been under intense pressure after a panel voted to appoint Carol Mills, who is currently secretary of the department of parliamentary services in Canberra, to the most senior unelected post at Westminster.

In an email to the outgoing Commons clerk Sir Robert Rogers, Australian Senate clerk Rosemary Laing said Ms Mills was “someone without parliamentary knowledge and experience”, adding that she and her colleagues had followed the news of her forthcoming appointment with “increasing disbelief and dismay”.

Today the Conservative MP Jesse Norman said he would take action to ensure that the issue was properly debated in Parliament if Mr Bercow did not bow to demands for Ms Mills to appear in front of MPs for a confirmation hearing before taking up the role.

“To be clear: if the champion of Parliament does not give Parliament a say on Ms Mills’ appointment, I will table a motion on this on 1 Sept,” he wrote on Twitter.

There has been growing discontent in Westminster at the decision to appoint Ms Mills – taken by a panel of five senior MPs and parliamentary ombudsman Dame Julie Mellor – since the email from Ms Laing emerged.

On Thursday, Jack Straw and Dame Margaret Beckett joined the cross-party campaign calling for her to appear in front of MPs so her appointment could be scrutinised. Former speaker Baroness Boothroyd has previously warned that she would be “totally out of her depth” in the role.

Ms Mills has spoken only briefly about the row, saying earlier this week that she was “disappointed” by Ms Laing’s email. “It would not be appropriate for me to comment further in a personal capacity at this time,” she added.

Mr Bercow has passed Ms Mills’ name to Downing Street, with ultimate approval due to be granted by the Queen. His spokeswoman said: “This is the first time ever there has been an open and fair recruitment process for the clerk of the House of Commons.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Day In a Page

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England