petej + executive   5

Hero or villain? Bercow’s notoriety is a consequence of parliament’s crisis – not its cause | James Butler | Opinion | The Guardian
The Speaker’s rulings are a consequence, not a cause, of the political impasse – the unavoidable effect of a conflict between legislature and executive eagerly pursued by successive governments. Small majorities or minority governments – as much the result of a democratic process as the referendum – find their rebels empowered; if any such government treats parliament as a truculent inconvenience, it will find MPs ready to humble it. Bercow’s instinct to empower parliament is real and consistent – though he delights in making enemies – but his “constitutional vandalism” is unlikely to trouble any government with a majority. Whatever the tabloids claim, this government’s inability to win a vote is its fault, and its fault alone.

The competition to replace Bercow is already under way. Some candidates, such as Labour’s Chris Bryant, promise a return to procedural orthodoxy: umpire-like impartiality, slavish adherence to the rulebook. Yet it is hard to see how any candidate could avoid controversy in a restive, finely balanced parliament with an executive determined to test the limits of its power and a legislature impatient with abuse.

Brexit has seen the withering of many parliamentary delusions: the strictures of convention, the stability of the parties, the reliability of the “good chap” theory of office. Bercow’s pugnacious defence of the legislature is a boon, but he must realise that reform conducted solely through the Speaker’s chair also tests democratic legitimacy; such a realisation must be behind his embrace, in last night’s lecture, of a more codified constitutional settlement. As the legal case over prorogation waits to be heard by the supreme court next week, and the looming Brexit deadline leaves the government scrambling for political safety, Bercow’s final act remains yet to be played. It is certain to be a stormy one.
UK  politics  BercowJohn  HouseOfCommons  retirement  democracy  executive  legislature  Speaker  neutrality  accountability  MPs  reform  controversy  impartiality  dctagged  dc:creator=ButlerJames 
5 weeks ago by petej

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: