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By Tim Montgomerie
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I'm with Douglas Carswell in believing that John Bercow has been good for the power of backbenchers versus the executive but I also do think he seeks too much attention. His constant Ratner-like interventions at Prime Minister's Question Time – telling MPs that the public doesn't like their behaviour – add up to something close to parliamentary self-flagellation. Does he ever consider that his constant attacks on MPs' behaviour are counter-productive? There is also the issue of his alleged unfairness to Conservative MPs. Elevated to the Speaker's chair on a Labour bloc vote in the last parliament Tory MPs think he is a partial umpire. Tory MP Rob Wilson has been number crunching and has calculated that Bercow IS much likelier to intervene against a Conservative MP than a Labour MP. The graphic below summarises his findings:

WilsonChart

Commenting on his research Mr Wilson said:

“I am not sure these statistics can be waved away by saying the Conservatives do not behave as well in the Chamber as other parties. Being the largest Party in the Chamber does not explain why there is such a big differential in percentage between a Party MPs elected and those chastised.  After all, in the Chamber each side (Government and Opposition) gets an equal chance to have its say because the Speaker rotates between the two sides in both Ministerial Questions and debates. These figures are therefore very powerful and confirm a trend that is well set in this Parliament.  We should all reflect carefully on their implications as they should provide the Speaker, MPs and the public with valuable food for thought.  I am certainly concerned about their implications, but I leave it to the public and Members of Parliament to consider them and draw their own conclusions.”

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