The scenes which took place in the chamber of the House of Commons as Parliament was suspended, were both embarrassing and shocking.
Opposition and remain MPs ranted and showed total disrespected for the traditions, procedure and democracy of Parliament. Outrageously they were applauded and encouraged by Speaker John Bercow who should have kept them in order.
Never before in recent times have so many MPs shown such contempt for protocol in the House of Commons. The current Speaker has unfortunately set the bar so low with his own juvenile and inappropriate behavior, encouraging MPs, some of whom served under previous Speakers and should know better, to behave so inappropriately and discourteously.
Had any of his predecessors including George Thomas, Bernard ‘Jack’ Weatherill or Betty Boothroyd, been sitting in the Speaker’s Chair, these scenes would not have taken place. I am also certain neither would they have connived with back bench MPs to introduce anti-British and undemocratic new legislation – The Benn Act, against the will of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, while he was in midst of negotiations with the EU, trying to ensure the UK leaves with an acceptable deal, or if they will not co-operate, with no deal on Independence Day - 31 October.
As Andrew Roberts said, ‘The Benn Act was a very English form of coup d’état, orchestrated by an anti-Brexit faction in Parliament, aided and abetted by Speaker Bercow to subvert the clearly expressed will of the people.’ He went on to say, ‘It is therefore necessary for Boris to break it to restore the proper constitutional relationship between Government, Parliament and the people. There are sometimes – thankfully not many – moments in the history of a country when bad law must be broken to get something vital done. Next month will be one of them.’
All three former Speakers seen in the photograph taken at my father’s Memorial Service, set very high standards. They kept order with dignity (something Bercow clearly lacks), and were meticulously impartial. It is now essential that Bercow is replaced by Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, an honorable, fair and very decent man.
Harriet Harman is setting her sights on becoming the next Speaker. I sincerely hope MPs will recognize she is not a suitable candidate. It is essential that the next Speaker is experienced, tried and tested. Plucking an MP off the back benches as happened with Bercow, is clearly risky and in the case of Bercow was a big mistake.
It takes time to learn procedure and protocol. Mr Hoyle and others on the speaker’s panel are hugely experienced, and well known by experienced MPs for doing a far better job than Speaker Bercow.
Let us hope MPs appreciate the qualities required for this important role and choose very carefully. To allow Harman, who also has form on behaving badly in the chamber, through by default, would be another disaster.