Speaker threatens to withrdaw consultation after his statement was leaked to BBC

July 6, 2009 at 3:03 pm 1 comment

The Speaker of the House of Commons has told MPs that neither he nor his staff leaked details of his statement to the House on proposals to elect his deputies.

John Bercow said that he had consulted with government and opposition whips before he made his statement last Thursday.

Tory MP Simon Burns told the House last week that he was concerned that details of the Speaker’s statement “was a significant story on the BBC news website half an hour before he made it.”

“That suggests that it was leaked to the BBC,” he said.

“I was wondering whether Mr. Speaker would like to carry out an inquiry to try to find out how the statement was leaked and given to the corporation prior to its being made in the House.”

Today the Speaker told MPs that he was “confident” his staff were not responsible, and pointed the finger at the whips.

Mr Speaker said the leak damaged the reputation of the House.

“I give notice today that if such a leak occurs on any future occasion I shall no longer feel under any obligation to hold such consultations in advance,” he said.

“I am sorry that I have to be so blunt so early in my Speakership but this sort of behaviour is precisely what harms the reputation of this House and I do not intend to tolerate it.”

Since becoming Speaker last month, John Bercow has made it clear that he feels the government should tell MPs about a change of policy before the press.


Entry filed under: Commons, Procedure. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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