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Speaker Bercow intends to clamp down on ministers making announcements to the media

Picture 5 After chairing his first session of PMQs, Speaker Bercow made a short statement in which he made clear that he will take a tough line on ministers making announcements to the media rather than Parliament.

As PoliticsHome records:

Mr Bercow, making a statement to the House of Commons after Prime Minister's Questions, said that key policy statements must be made to the House before being released elsewhere and called for a reduction of noise in the House in order to retain a calm and reasoned atmosphere.

He said: “When Ministers have key policy statements to make the House must be the first to hear them, and they should not be released beforehand.

“In statements I ask that frontbenchers stick to their alloted time...backbenchers confine themselves to one brief supplementary”.

He added that “those speaking in the chamber should be heard, so an atmosphere of calm, reasoned order may be retained”.

Several points of order followed with Conservative MPs highlighting instances of the media over the last 24 hours effectively publishing government announcements before they have been made - of which the Speaker took note.

I look forward to the new Speaker taking guilty ministers to task on the issue: it is an important part of the House of Commons reasserting its power to hold the executive to account.

Jonathan Isaby


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