POLITICS

Speaker John Bercow Gives Fiery Retort To Tory MP Who Tries To Embarrass Him With Urgent Question Jibe

03/11/2015 16:06 GMT | Updated 03/11/2015 17:59 GMT

An attempt to humiliate Commons Speaker John Bercow backfired on Tuesday, as the Conservative MP in question was effortlessly upstaged.

Simon Burns, who has sat in Parliament for 18 years and is a long-standing critic of Bercow, lambasted the Speaker for his notoriously generous granting of 'Urgent Questions' - timely issues raised by MPs, granted floor-time by him.

Without irony, the Chelmsford MP began a point of order saying: "With your customary helpfulness, Mr Speaker, may I please seek your guidance.

"You have rightly said in the past that the criteria for Urgent Questions is that they are newsworthy and that people are talking about the issue in the Dog and Duck."

He continued, before being cut off: "As you’ll appreciate, Mr Speaker, I’m sure that my distinguished -".

Bercow interjected, issuing a polite but stinging rebuke to his Commons colleague, saying that he was "grateful" for the intervention, but that the MP had "made a bit of a mess" of attempting to admonish him for granting questions to ministers.

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"I’m very grateful to the Right Honourable gentleman for his attempt," Bercow began.

"Let me just say this: The responsibility for determining whether a matter is warranted for exchange on the floor of this House as an Urgent Question is that of the Chair.

"I discharge that responsibility," he added. "I discharge it assiduously."

Continuing, Bercow finished with an almighty blow: "The Right Honourable gentleman is a very experienced member of this house and he knows full well that those decisions are not subject to questioning by Members.

"The Right Honourable gentleman had a go, but I’m afraid he made a bit of a mess of it."

Burns has previously clashed with Bercow, labelling the 5ft 6in man a “stupid, sanctimonious dwarf”.

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