We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Why shouldn't Buckingham Liberal Democrats join in?

December 29, 2009 1:09 PM

This is part of the current debate surrounding the question of opposing the Speak in the General Election.

(Reprinted from Liberal Democrat Voice).

Why shouldn't Buckingham Liberal Democrats join in?

By Philip Young | Published 22nd December 2009 - 10:45 am

The accepted wisdom is that it is "protocol" not to oppose the Speaker. Yet there are plenty of examples that this is simply not true - Selwyn Lloyd, for one, was opposed, and there are other examples (and we are not talking pre-war or the mists of time).

What is going on in Buckingham is extraordinary. The Speaker is unpopular with his local party - not just a large block of Conservative MPs in Parliament - and his wife has shot through the Labour Party hoops and jumped other hurdles to go on the list of approved Parliamentary Candidates. Nobody can remember an MP for one party with a wife totally opposed to what he stands for, so badly she is not just quietly hoping another party wins, she is prepared to stand in another constituency and openly fight for a totally opposite cause.

Bercow was elected as Speaker on a "reformist agenda" to spearhead the drive to clean up the expenses issue. This is floundering, and he hardly set a good example by ordering expensive new curtains and going on a general spending spree to spruce up his grace-and-favour living accommodation, including lashing out no less than £6,000 on a new sofa when there was nothing wrong with the one chosen by the sacked Speaker Martin except it was "not as comfortable as the new one."

Nigel Farage is out to win with a determined effort, he sees all this as UKIP's best hope of a Parliamentary breakthrough.

Meanwhile, the local Liberal Democrats are supposed to sit back and do nothing? Fight local elections, keep a party together locally for the sole purposes of fighting elections, yes, but now stand down just because of "protocol"? Is this not just based on the two major parties who have seen the Speakership as a buggins turn rota, where if one party has the job, the other party gets a go next time round (only recently changed by MPs opening voting, and using proportional representation as well), but why shouldn't Liberal Democrats be seen to be going along with the Establishment's cosy protocols?

Wouldn't Buckingham's Liberal Democrats be better off instead of having a "standard bearer" who is totally toothless, instead have a PPC with sleeves rolled up, and seeing the Tory vote being split down the middle with local differences, joining in what could be a most interesting scrap? Given there is not going to be a Liberal Democrat Speaker, what ever the selection method, why not let Buckingham get stuck in? If they found more members, concentrated on key wards for the next local elections, this surely would be better than doing nothing?

And … would this not be more radical than just sitting on their hands?