Archive for the 'Speaker' Category


From bollocks to Brexit to bollocks to Bercow?

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

The Speaker seems determined to annoy the Leavers and with crucial votes on Brexit coming up that seems unwise.

Former Monday Club member John Bercow has a history of needlessly antagonising people with his words & actions and I fear that his bumper sticker will rightly annoy Leavers especially with crucial Brexit votes scheduled for June in the House of Commons.

A Speaker needs to be seen to be fair and impartial and the fear among Leavers will be with close votes due on Brexit the Speaker’s personal views on Brexit might impede his judgment. As an innovative Speaker he might choose to ignore or adapt Speaker Denison’s rule, which could have the potential to trigger an early general election especially if the Government lost a key Brexit vote.

So Leavers might see this as an opportunity and the perfect motive to remove John Bercow, the fact we are coming up to the time John Bercow originally planned to stand down from the Speakership should help the plotters.

Quite frankly you can’t see Lindsay Hoyle, Bercow’s likely replacement, pulling shenanigans like this. Speaker Bercow only needs to lose the support of a significant minority of MPs to see his position become untenable, his actions are increasing the chances of his ousting this summer.




The Buckingham constituency where there must be a high chance of a by-election within 18 months

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

There’s not been a “normal” election here since GE2005

One of the intriguing facets of the current speculation over the Speaker, John Bercow, is that there could be a by-election within the next year and a half in the Buckingham parliamentary constituency.

There were reports at the weekend that Mr Bercow has indicated to friends that he plans to stand down in 2019 though there could be something earlier if the pressure on him continues. If he does step aside he’ll almost certainly quit as an MP and would probably be elevated to the Lords.

The normal convention which is honoured by the main parties is that Speakers are not challenged when they stand for re-election in their own constituencies. So at GE2010, Bercow’s first general election as Speaker, Labour and the Lib Dems did not put up candidates although Nigel Farage challenged him as did a prominent pro-EU former Conservative MEP, John Stevens. Bercow won easily but Stevens beat Farage for second place and the former leader of UKIP only picked up 17% of the vote.

That election will be remembered for the plane crash that Nigel Farage was in while flying in a light plane over the constituency on election day itself. My understanding is that quite a few Tory activists were helping on the Farage campaign while some Lib Dems were supporting Stevens.

The fact that it has been held by the Speaker for so long is that there are no previous elections for us to make comparisons with. At GE2005, with different boundaries, Bercow stood as a Tory and got 57% of the vote.

At GE1966 the seat was won for Labour by the controversial former media magnate Robert Maxwell. He lost it to the Tories at GE1970.

A 2018/2019 by-election would likely be a battle between the Tories and the Lib Dems who would fancy their chances of putting up a challenge in a seat that went Remain at the referendum. No doubt both parties have already got contingency plans for fighting such an election.

Mike Smithson


If Bercow does stand down then Lindsay Hoyle, surely, will be his successor

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

He’s a 66% chance on Betfair

With John Bercow attending the funeral of ex-speaker, Michael Martin, it was down to deputy, Lindsay Hoyle to handle yesterday’s PMQs and the above clip shows what a positive reception he got.

While part of this is down to how the incumbent is viewed by some MPs a lot of it was recognition that Hoyle is very good at handling the business of the House – something that’s recognised by all parties. Many observed that PMQs seem to run more smoothly.

Whether there will be a vacancy I don’t know. Bercow is certainly under some pressure but whether it will lead to an early exit time will tell.

In many ways Bercow has been a good speaker always ready to take the side of the House against the executive. Given the Tories are in power that of itself is enough to earn some opposition from the blue team.

Betfair and other bookies have a market up on his successor. At the moment I would not look beyond Hoyle.

Mike Smithson


Betting on who will the the next Speaker of the House of Commons

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

Laying Jacob Rees-Mogg as next Speaker is my strategy

Following the allegations against Speaker Bercow the Tory MP James Duddridge has helpfully reminded us that when John Bercow was campaigning to be Speaker back in 2009 Bercow promised to stand down by June 2018.  But I’m not expecting John Bercow to honour this promise.

It is reported that Mrs May is ‘concerned’ over John Bercow bullying allegations, which could add further pressure on Bercow so I thought I’d look at the next Speaker market, alas there appears to be no Bercow exit date markets available.

The Paddy Power market below is probably right in having Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle as favourite, he regularly wins praise from all sides of the House when he steps in for John Bercow.

Jacob Rees-Mogg is second favourite, I can see why people think he’d make a good Speaker however I’ll be laying him for the following reasons

I) His focus might be on another job, one that is substantially more influential than Speaker.

II) His socially conservative/Catholic views will be unpalatable to many in the Commons, it is fair to say that Parliament is much more socially liberal than Jacob Rees-Mogg. I suspect Parliamentarians will not want the country to think Parliament is reactionary so that will stop Rees-Mogg becoming Speaker.

III) His views on Brexit might be unpalatable for the vast majority of Parliament that don’t get tumescent over a Hard Brexit that the likes of Rees-Mogg do which again will be a hindrance to his chances of becoming Speaker.

Like the Tory leadership market the next Speaker market is one where I’m fairly confident in betting on who it won’t be rather than who it will be.

(As an aside Paddy Power need to update their market, several of the candidates listed are no longer MPs.) There’s also a Betfair market up on the next Speaker but there’s poor liquidity in that market at the moment.


P.S. – The Sunday Times are reporting ‘Harriet Harman is preparing to launch a campaign to become Speaker of the House of Commons as John Bercow faces a fresh bid to oust him. The former Labour deputy leader has told friends she is “prepared to throw her hat into the ring” after bullying allegations were raised against Bercow.’


If you fancy a 16% return in just over eight months, this might be the bet for you

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

William Hill have a market up on whether John Bercow will be Speaker until 2018. Ordinarily I’m not in favour of backing 1/6 shots, but given that the much hyped attempt by Tory MP James Dudderidge to topple Speaker Bercow turned out to be a bit Spursy* as only five MPs sign motion of no confidence in John Bercow.

From that I can conclude there’s no appetite, let alone a majority, in The Commons to topple John Bercow, so I’d expect him to stand down at a time of his own choosing probably either in 2019 or 2020 to coincide with the general election. With base rates at 0.25%, a 16% return in little over 8 months looks great.


*In 2016, The Oxford University Press has announced that the word ‘Spursy’ will be included in the ever popular Oxford English Dictionary from this year.

The term, which means to constantly fail living up to expectations, was invented by Tottenham Hotspur fans who had grown tired of watching their team unceasingly collapse at the first sign of pressure, and will now officially enter the English lexicon with the latest release of the English language’s lexicon of record.


The CON MPs using the Trump visit to oust Bercow have lost their critical faculties

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Cartoon by Helen Cochrane and Nicholas Leonard.

It is 9/4 that Bercow will have bowed out of his role as Speaker before Trump’s state visit

With Bercow now facing a no confidence move Betway make it a 9/4 chance that he’ll not be in the role by the time of the Trump state visit.

I’m far from convinced that the move by some Tory MPs against the former right-wing Bercow is going to succeed. An effort to thwart him was tried before just before the 2010-2015 was dissolved ahead of GE2015. That fizzled out through lack of the support needed.

There are so many ways that Berrow irritates his fellow parliamentarians but the Tories who are making an issue over Bercow and Trump have got it wrong.

It’ll be portrayed as though Bercow’s detractors are driven by their support for Trump. The optics of this don’t look good. Even though Trump is polling a bit better than six months ago amongst British voters he remains someone that the majority of people have strong negative views on.

This’ll be presented as Bercow v Trump and on that, I’d suggest, the speaker wins hands down.

My guess is that he’ll survive the confidence move which will end up reinforcing his position.

Mike Smithson



If Sky News is right a move to get rid of Bercow is sensational

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015


John Bercow’s replacement: Another betting market for mug punters

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Who wants to lock their stake up for maybe 20 years?

Mike Smithson

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