Leeds MP adds voice to row as Commons speaker could be ousted in days

Conservative MP for Elmet and Rothwell Alec Shelbrooke. (S)
Conservative MP for Elmet and Rothwell Alec Shelbrooke. (S)
Have your say

A Leeds MP has added his voice to the call for Commons Speaker John Bercow to resign branding his position “untenable”.

Rothwell and Elmet MP Alec Shelbrooke has signed an Early Day Motion put forward by a fellow Tory MP.

“He is not acting independently,” he told the BBC POlitics show.

“The very fact that we are having this conversation today, on a political issue brought about by the Speaker, shows that he is no longer able to independently chair and have support and respect across the whole of the House of Commons.

The Speaker faced calls to consider his position after he said US President Donald Trump should not be allowed to address Parliament on his state visit to Britain this year.

Former Minister James Duddridge tabled the motion, claiming Mr Bercow had “overstepped the mark”. The motion was tabled as the Commons rose for the February recess, with Mr Duddridge claiming that support for the move could see the Speaker forced out before MPs return to Westminster.

The Rochford and Southend East MP claimed Mr Bercow’s comments were “wholly inappropriate” and contravened the Speaker’s traditional neutrality.

On Monday, Mr Bercow appeared to brand the US president “racist” and “sexist” and said Mr Trump’s travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries meant he was “even more strongly” opposed to an invitation.

He was applauded by some MPs, but his move irritated Tories and also caused a clash with Lords Speaker Lord Fowler, who vowed to keep an “open mind” about Mr Trump addressing Parliament.

But the Opposition urged Ministers to reject calls for a vote of no confidence and supporters of Mr Bercow have rallied behind him.

Former minister Mr Duddridge said he had been “amazed” by the level of support he had received since speaking out about Mr Bercow’s critical comments aimed at US president Donald Trump.

Labour MP Jess Phillips dismissed the Speaker’s critics as a “load of rich blokes”, saying: “Loads of Tories don’t like Bercow because he’s trying to reform the Commons and make it more representative.

“I will vote to support John Bercow, utterly ridiculous and self-indulgent of MP who will waste all our time on this.”

Senior Labour MP Andy Burnham and shadow cabinet ministers Barbara Keeley and Kate Osamor also expressed their support for the Speaker.