Jacob Rees-Mogg should resign after the UK Government’s Brexit plans showed “discourtesy” to the Queen, MPs have heard.
Labour’s Geraint Davies (Swansea West) hit out at the Commons Leader for being part of the bid to put down a new motion seeking another “meaningful vote” on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.
Speaker John Bercow
Mr Davies called into question Mr Rees-Mogg’s position given his role in the matter, which has also resulted in the postponement of the final two days of debate on the Queen’s Speech.
Raising a point of order, he said: “Her Majesty the Queen thought she had five weeks to write her Queen’s Speech, and then she was just given a few days.
“And she’s waiting intently to know what the response of the House is on the Queen’s Speech, but instead the Leader of the House has put down a motion which is basically a copycat of a motion on Saturday in breach of Erskine May.
“And predictably, I’ve got to say Mr Speaker, you ruled it out of order.
“Isn’t this a discourtesy to Her Majesty and reason that the leader should reconsider his position for his own incompetence?”
Mr Bercow replied: “I’m very grateful to the honourable gentleman, but I don’t think we should get ahead of ourselves – I’m certainly not accusing the leader of discourtesy, I’m not doing so at all.”
The exchanges came after some Tory MPs questioned Mr Bercow’s impartiality.
Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, said: “I note the dilemmas you (Mr Bercow) face mean on occasion you will sometimes have to please some and not others, but it is becoming remarkable how often you please one lot and not the other lot.”
Mr Jenkin added: “I’d also remark, Mr Speaker, you have inveighed against most unusual things happening in this House which you did not like and I’d say it’s most unusual for a Speaker so often to prevent the Government having debated the matters which the Government wish to put before the House.”
Mr Jenkin added Mr Bercow has “denied the opportunity” of the Commons to express its view on this matter, claiming the motion tabled on Monday was not voted upon on Saturday as it “ceased to exist” as soon as it was amended.
Mr Bercow hit back by recalling how he previously granted many urgent questions and emergency debates to Eurosceptics, adding: “What I am saying to (Mr Jenkin) is when he was getting the decisions in his favour, he wasn’t grumbling.
“He’s grumbling now because he doesn’t like the judgment but the judgment I’ve made is an honourable and fair one, and I’m afraid if (Mr Jenkin) doesn’t like it there’s not much I can do about that.”
Tory backbencher David Davies (Monmouth) added Mr Bercow’s rulings “seem to favour one side of the argument”.
Conservative former minister Crispin Blunt told the Speaker: “I am one of the members who has formally recorded my anxiety about your partiality in the chair.
“I think it was the right way to do that, to do it formally.”
But Tory former minister Desmond Swayne also backed the Speaker, saying: “However unfashionable it might be, I believe you are quite right.
“And by the same token, it is quite wrong to expect the voters to have to answer the same question a second time.”