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John 'Centre-of-Attention' Bercow speaks four times as much as Michael Martin and Betty Boothroyd

By Tim Montgomerie
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In today's Independent Simon Carr examines the Speaker's verbosity:

"Hansard shows [Bercow] speaks 700 and 800 words in a day's sitting. Michael Martin before him spoke 100 to 200, as did Betty Boothroyd. The other Thursday at Business Questions, Mr Bercow kept dozens of MPs at attention in front of him while he spoke a total of 93 words making an appeal for brevity. In recent days, to answer John Cryer's Point of Order asking if the PM had contacted the Speaker to make a statement, he took 202 words (the answer is essentially one word). To Jeremy Corbyn's request for a longer debate on Iran, he said: "That is not a matter for the Chair", but took 203 words to say it. And four points of order (from Paul Flynn, David Winnick, Brian Donohoe and Mark Pritchard) in one combined reply on the subject of the PM calling Denis Skinner a "dinosaur"? A mammoth 387 words."

He also pokes fun at what he says. Are the Speaker's interventions generated by an out-of-control 19th century software program, he asks? Here's an example:

"Secondly, moderately vivid imagination though I possess, a fact to which I made reference in responding to someone last week, I really cannot imagine a colleague whom it is more impolitic or foolish to fail timeously to answer than the honourable gentleman."

Read the whole piece.

> Recent research showed that 62% of Bercow's interruptions are against Conservative MPs but only 47% of MPs are Tory.


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