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‘Gunpowder plot' against Commons Speaker John Bercow struggles to gain momentum

Alex Salmond, the former SNP leader, compared the attempt to oust Mr Bercow to the failed Gunpowder plot, saying it would ‘fizzle out’

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 21 February 2017 11:29 GMT
An early day motion expressed no confidence in Mr Bercow, who earlier this month said he opposed a visit to Parliament by Donald Trump
An early day motion expressed no confidence in Mr Bercow, who earlier this month said he opposed a visit to Parliament by Donald Trump (Getty)

A bid to oust John Bercow has been compared to the failed Gunpowder plot as it struggled to gain momentum after just five MPs signed a motion of no confidence.

The faltering attempt to remove the Commons Speaker comes after he said he “strongly opposed” the US President Donald Trump’s state visit to Britain. He told MPs earlier in February that addressing Parliament was “not an automatic right; it is an earned honour”.

Opposition to his position appeared to increase after a video emerged of him telling students that he voted Remain in the EU referendum.

But an early day motion expressing no confidence in Mr Bercow put down by James Duddridge, a Conservative former minister, has so far received the support of just four of his colleagues, Andrew Bridgen, Daniel Kawczynski, Karl McCartney and Alec Shelbrooke.

Mr Duddridge said he believed around 20 other MPs could sign on Tuesday. “People said, ‘I’m going to sign if it’s 50 people or 100 people, so there is safety in numbers’, so we will wait and see,” he said.

John Bercow 'strongly opposed' to Donald Trump address to Parliament

However, referring to the 1605 conspiracy to blow up Parliament, which involved Guy Fawkes, Alex Salmond, the former SNP leader, also defended the Commons Speaker, suggesting the attempt to remove him from his post would “fizzle out”.

As MPs debated petitions in Westminster Hall over Mr Trump’s state visit to Britain, Mr Salmond said: “Since it has already been mentioned in this debate, to actually allow this process to be the pretext for another assault on the Speaker is beyond madness in this place.

“The Gunpowder Plot, this new one, will fizzle out just as surely as the last one did.”

Last week it emerged Mr Bercow has received more than 4,000 letters and emails about his decision on Mr Trump.

The vast majority of the communications (3,227) were supportive of Mr Bercow's stance, while 854 opposed his position, figures released in response to a freedom of information request revealed.

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