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John Bercow: Politeness and restraint.

When I reported that Commons Speaker John Bercow had ruled out a third “meaningful vote” (three? They’d be more aptly described as “meaningless”) on Theresa May’s duff Brexit deal, I did not expect her to try to get around it by underhand means.

As she is determined not to change a single line of her appalling document, options included a “paving vote” to set aside the convention under which the same proposal could not be put to the vote twice in a single Parliamentary session, or proroguing Parliament – ending the current session and starting a new one to get around the issue.

And then there was the lowest tactic of all – pretending that Mr Bercow made his ruling in order to derail democracy (and halt Brexit), rather than as a matter of duty as the chairperson of the House of Commons, responsible for ensuring that its decisions comply with law and precedent.

The aspect of it that really astonishes This Writer is that the BBC – currently under investigation by Ofcom on the possibility that it has been failing in its duty of impartiality – seems to have led the attack on Mr Bercow’s credibility.

And the corporation got what it deserved. Consider this response to a BBC reporter’s on-street harassment of the Speaker on his way to work.

Mr Bercow responded with politeness and restraint. The BBC reporter’s questions were – well – as Tom Pride described them.

One more thing: Suppose Mrs May manages to get another vote on her deal, and it wins support from MPs. Will they be doing so because they honestly believe it is a good deal, having read the nearly-600-page document from cover to cover?

Or will they just be tired out and afraid that they’ll lose the support of an impatient public if they don’t?


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