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Deputy Speaker Criticises John Bercow For Letting Down Brexiters In Parliament
5 October 2019, 10:46
Dame Eleanor Laing told LBC that the speaker's job is to "protect minorities" and that the "significant minority" of Brexiter parliamentarians think "impartiality has been somewhat diminished".
Speaking to Andrew Pierce, Laing said: "He's done some great things. He came in with the intention of being a great reforming speaker and he's brought about some reforms which have been good for parliament.
"He's done a lot to hold the government to account, to create more time for backbenchers, to give the opposition a full say in what's happening, he's allowed a lot more urgent questions and urgent debates and all that is good for democracy.
But there's a bit of an irony, isn't there, that he rightly says that the speakers job is to protect minorities and let's stop and think for a moment who is the significant minority in the House of Commons at the moment and that answer is MPs who voted Leave."
She continued: "We're in a funny situation, aren't we, that the minority in the House of Commons is the same as the majority in the rest of the country and that's why we've got this imbalance right now."
Andrew Pierce asked if Bercow had disproportionately favoured the Remain side.
She responded: "Actually, I've got some sympathy with some of the things that he's done because like every other role it's difficult to work out how you would do it until you're actually there."
She continued: "But you would be right to say that a lot of my colleagues, especially my colleagues on the government benches but on other benches too, do think that impartiality has been somewhat diminished and impartiality is really important for the speaker."
She told Andrew Pierce that she would bring back impartiality if she was speaker.
She then said: "What is difficult is to keep your mouth shut when you feel strongly about something."
She added that "o know that your duty to the chair and your duty to parliament is far greater than your urger to get into an argument and put forward your own point of view" is of great importance.
Andrew then tested her on how she says the infamous Bercow "order".