Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Bercow takes his bow

He couldn't stop smirking - and who could blame him? John Bercow looked rather pleased with himself as he made his way to the Speaker's chair for the first full day in the job.

Fashion experts will recall that he wore a normal suit and academic-style gown, without the train favoured by his predecessor. I don't recall Michael Martin wearing tights, although others do, but Mr Speaker Bercow went for trousers.

One or two Tory MPs thought his tie was a little bright and will have to go. Sir George Young (who has been more graceful in defeat than some of his supporters) might have chosen a quieter option.

But Mr Speaker Bercow got into his stride, with an early appeal for brevity from Ministers and backbench MPs. He may be a small man, but he has a very tall voice which helps avoid the risk of the Speaker's chair dwarfing his frame.

Another test lies ahead, when Commons leader Harriet Harman makes a statement on the new code of conduct for MPs. Will the Speaker shut her up on the grounds that Gordon Brown has already been touring broadcast studios talking about the same subject?

And tomorrow, he referees his first Prime Minister's Question Time. You can bet he's looking forward to it. As someone once said of another Tory, I have seen the future and it smirks.

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