Ben@Forest wrote:For some Bercow is a hero and for others he is not, but whatever one thinks he has destroyed the traditional impartiality of the Speaker.
I don't think so. The referendum was a fundamental departure from the UK's normal system of decision making by a government whose decisions are subject to scrutiny and voting for/against by MPs in the Commons. If Parliament had simply acquiesced in letting the government of the day decide what type of Brexit we were to have (something which would probably affect the UK population for decades because of its potential economic impact), then people would have rightly taken the view that Parliament was very diminished in its performance and value, and would have questioned the value of MPs.
The turmoil in Parliament is a direct result of the deliberate choice of the Leave campaign to pretend that it would give the best of all worlds: the same level of advantageous trading with the EU in the Single Market, no Freedom of Movement, no contribution to the EU budget etc. If Leave had campaigned for a specific type of Brexit, e.g. EEA membership, Canada Plus or whatever, it would have very likely lost the referendum, because the negative aspects of its particular choice of Brexit type would have been picked apart and would have reduced its vote (and by the same token, it would have got absolutely nowhere if its campaign had been for a hard WTO type Brexit). By being vague Leave avoided the weaknesses in its Campaign being exposed, but in doing so it also failed to get the sort of mandate it needed to drive through Brexit unopposed and unscrutinised in Parliament. Arguably MPs were at fault for voting for a referendum without insisting that the type of Brexit that people were to vote on be defined in advance.
Given all the circumstances, the Speaker probably had to allow and even encourage the Commons to assert itself, and the public attention on what has happened in the Commons and in the political parties is probably very good for democracy in the longer run: it shows that the MPs they elect do matter, and can make a difference, and it has probably hugely increased the engagement and interest of many more people in politics and the political process.
Ben@Forest wrote:It is highly likely the parameters of the Speaker's role will be changed. Sir Bernard Jenkin, who is chairman of the Constitutional Affairs Committe just intimated that the powers of the Speaker are likely to be reviewed by the committee.
That may or may not be a good thing, but Bercow's successor may find their role circumscribed compared to previous holders of the office. It seems ineffably sad to me, Bercow was a lousy choice but it's perhaps the inevitable outcome of Labour supporting a Conservative candidate they knew the Conservatives did not want.
I agree that Labour MPs electing Bercow as a spoiler was not good, and party politicisation of the choice of Speaker is damaging for the function of Parliamentary democracy, but I think it's extremely unlikely that MPs will curtail the Speaker in the way that Bernard Jenkin wants. Ultimately backbench MPs of all parties know that a strong independently minded Speaker is best for them. All of them will know that in curtailing the Speaker's power, they potentially reduce their power and increase the power of the government of the day. I suspect many MPs, while publically despairing of the present situation, are actually acquiring a taste for the greater levels of power that they have experienced lately. Things are often so finely balanced that every MPs vote matters. I don't think they will be so keen to see that change.