Monday, 21 May 2018

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow admits 'stupid' remark in Andrea Leadsom row

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has admitted using the word "stupid" in a row with a top minister but not offered an apology.
Mr Bercow came under fire last week after allegedly branding Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom a "stupid woman", before reportedly adding "f****** useless" or "f****** outrageous".
Both Downing Street and Conservative ministers have branded such remarks "completely unacceptable".

The row heightened criticism of the speaker at a time when he faces a string of bullying accusations, along with demands to quit the role he has held since 2009.

In a statement to MPs on Monday, Mr Bercow confessed to a "muttered aside" but insisted it "simply summed up" how he felt about the government's handling of parliamentary business last Wednesday.

The speaker said: "It was in that context and that context alone that, having expressed my displeasure about the matter quite forcefully from the chair, I used the word 'stupid' in a muttered aside.
"That adjective simply summed up how I felt about the way that that day's business had been conducted.

"Anyone that knows the leader of the House at all well will have not the slightest doubt about her political ability and her personal character.

"I love this House, I respect all of my colleagues, I hold you all in the highest esteem."

Remaining defiant over the row, Mr Bercow added: "It is our duty to get on with the business of parliament, scrutinising legislation, debating issues and standing up for the people we are here to represent.

"For my part, I shall continue to speak out firmly for the interests of the whole House and, if from time to time, it involves publicly disagreeing with the government's management of business, then so be it."

Noticeably flanked by female colleagues on the government front bench, Ms Leadsom later delivered what was widely considered to be a response to Mr Bercow's statement.

Speaking in an emergency debate on money resolutions for private members' bills, the cabinet minister said: "I take my responsibilities to this House very seriously.

"As you said last week, Mr Speaker, we have a responsibility to safeguard the rights of this House.
"And, as leader of the House, I seek to do exactly that, treating all MPs with courtesy and respect.

"I hope and expect all honourable and right honourable members to do likewise."

Mr Bercow gazed away from Ms Leadsom as she began her remarks.

In the same debate, Labour's shadow leader of the House of Commons Valerie Vaz praised Mr Bercow, telling him: "You have always been a champion of parliament and I know you will continue to do so."

BBC     News.

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