MPs arguing Bercow should stay on until after Brexit have a point – but more needs to be done to tackle the toxic culture in Westminster

I have seen a reluctance to investigate past allegations, a tendency to delay, obfuscate, gag staff with non-disclosure agreements and, even worse, cry ‘witch hunt’, as if the perpetrators were the victims

Thursday 18 October 2018 11:45
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MPs believe that Speaker John Bercow would be more likely to stand up to the government, and give backbenchers in all parties and the Labour opposition a fair chance to fully debate a Brexit agreement
MPs believe that Speaker John Bercow would be more likely to stand up to the government, and give backbenchers in all parties and the Labour opposition a fair chance to fully debate a Brexit agreement

Brexit is so important that it “trumps bad behaviour,” even sexual harassment and bullying. Of the sentences I never thought I would write, this is near the top of the list. Along with “I love Brexit” and “I hate Spurs.”

But it is what some serious politicians I respect are arguing. They want to keep John Bercow in his chair as Commons speaker for the crunch votes on Brexit over the next few months, despite Monday’s damning independent inquiry into the abuse of staff at Westminster, which called for a clear out of parliament’s top team, including the speaker.

Labour’s Dame Margaret Beckett, Emily Thornberry and Ben Bradshaw were among those making the case for Bercow to carry on. I was appalled, even though I understand why they did it. If Theresa May gets a deal – I think she will, despite the gulf between the UK and EU that will be evident at the Brussels summit starting tonight – many MPs suspect she will try to railroad it through parliament.

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