Speaker's Suit Marks Change

The Mirror (London, England), June 24, 2009 | Go to article overview

Speaker's Suit Marks Change


Byline: JASON BEATTIE

NEW Commons Speaker John Bercow made his debut in Parliament yesterday, breaking with tradition by wearing a suit and blue tie in place of the traditional court dress and wig.

Mr Bercow, who won Monday's ballot to replace Michael Martin after the expenses scandal, called for MP allowances "to be dealt with as quickly as possible" and said "it must not be allowed to fester".

He also hinted he will encourage "brisker" debate which might involve changes to Prime Minister's Questions, which he chairs today.

Asked if it would mean curtailing exchanges between Gordon Brown and David Cameron, he said: "If we are to make progress, it does logically follow that the exchanges need to be as snappy as possible. I hope that everybody in the House, from the highest level, will accept the need to make progress."

Mr Bercow won the secret ballot of MPs by 322 to 271 over Sir George Young, but his victory was met with dismay by some former Tory colleagues who regard him as too close to New Labour.

Conservative backbencher Nadine Dorries described his election as a "vindictive" act by Labour, sending a "twofingered salute" to any future Tory government. Ms Dorries, MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, claimed just three Tory MPs backed Mr Bercow. Mr Bercow referred to the Conservatives as "my former party" yesterday, but said a significant number of Tory MPs had promised him their vote. …

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