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Speaker Bercow vs. Public Opinion

By Matthew Barrett
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A variation of the segment of the above video, in which Speaker John Bercow tells a noisy chamber that "the public doesn't like it", is a regular occurrence at Prime Minister's Questions.

As a further example, Hansard on the 27th of April:

"Mr Speaker: Order. There is far too much noise in the Chamber. [Interruption.] Order. It makes a very bad impression on the public as a whole, and others are waiting to contribute. I think the Prime Minister has finished."

Hansard on the 29th of June:

"Mr Speaker: We are very grateful. I call Guto Bebb. [Interruption.] Order. I appeal to the House to calm down and reflect on what the public think of this sort of behaviour."

For many people who catch - rather than watch every week - a bit of PMQs, perhaps through a clip of it on the news, they would like to see that their representatives in Parliament are passionately defending something on their behalf. A boring, quiet and procedure-heavy House of Commons would produce exchanges of any particular interest far less often than at present.

A less-covered aspect of yesterday's Independent on Sunday/Sunday Mirror poll by ComRes was this finding:

"Robust exchanges in the House of Commons are an important part of our democracy"

  • Agree: 68%
  • Disagree: 12%
  • Don’t know: 20%

Where does this leave Mr Bercow's "the public doesn't like it" intervention?


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