It's interesting that many of the left have interpreted the blogpost last night on Ming Campbell and the Speakership as proof that I want to see the back of John Bercow and that I therefore automatically support Nadine Dorries and Kat Hoey in their bid to oust him. Read the post again. I said no such thing. I was merely reporting a good old fashioned journalistic scoop. The kind of scoop which is alluded to on Newsnight, and is now being reported elsewhere.
Ben Brogan speculates that David Cameron is exerting pressure on Tory MPs to avoid a divisive vote. He also thinks that the eighty year old Sir Peter Tapsell may well indulge in a bit of selective hearing. I think that is far fetched, but whatever happens, his opponents must not let the occasion dive into the gutter. They won't be easily forgiven.
I supported Sir Alan Haselhurst in the original election for Speaker ten months ago. But if I had a vote this afternoon, I would have come to the conclusion that I would support the right of Speaker Bercow to stay in his post. That's not to say I do not have reservations about the way he has handled certain aspects of the Commons in his first ten months. I do. But I also think he is an intelligent man and has probably recognised that he didn't get everything right. Picking on certain individuals was not edifying and it should stop. But he is a reformer and clearly has the interests of the Commons at heart and my view is that he should be given a second chance to demostrate that he can be the Speaker his supporters always hoped he could be. As I wrote last night...
If he does indeed win, then the whole House should unite behind him and the office of Speaker and put the difficulties of the last few months behind it. And Mr Speaker Bercow should try to understand the reasons why so many Conservative MPs have turned against him. Whatever the result tomorrow, he needs to extend the hand of conciliation.
I hope he does so.