Ministers have moved to block House of Commons Speaker John Bercow from being offered a seat in the House of Lords in a bid to punish him for Brexit debate “bias”.
Bercow would become the first speaker in 230 years to have his peerage blocked as they are usually automatically offered a seat in the Lords, but his relationship with the government has broken down following a change he made to Commons rules, according to The Times.
Last Wednesday, Bercow opted to change years of precedent and allow MPs to control business of the House, claiming he is a “champion of the back benches”.
However, the Conservative party are less than pleased with their former member, and have accused Bercow of favouring Labour MPs and those who want to block Brexit.
“It’s a good job that peerage nominations are in our gift — I’m sure we’ll be thinking carefully about which individuals we would choose to elevate to the House of Lords,” a cabinet source told The Times. “I can’t imagine we would look favourably on those who’ve cheated centuries of procedure.”
Bercow claimed he would retire after nine years of service as Commons Speaker when he took on the role in 2009, but last year changed his mind to see through until the end of Brexit.
He is expected to resign from the role this summer should the UK leave the EU on March 29.
Typically a retiring Speaker would be offered peerage, which No10 would have to wave through before the Queen is asked to formally confirm it.
It is usually a formality, but Prime Minister Theresa May made it clear last year that she was to end the guarantee of honours, claiming she would “operate on the basis that there is no automatic entitlement to a peerage for any holder of high office in public life”.
May has reportedly voiced her anger at Bercow's behaviour in private, with The Sun claiming the Prime Minister said the Speaker was “making it up as he's going along” and had “torn up the rule book”.
Bercow now looks set to miss out on receiving peerage and last night one senior Tory told The Times: “Precedents of Speakers getting peerages don’t last for ever either.”
Meanwhile, Conservative MP and chair of the Commons procedure committee, Charles Walker, wrote to Bercow on Thursday to criticise his decision to amend Commons rules.
Walker claimed the move “departed from expected practice” and he questioned whether the Speaker had permanently changed the rules.
The last Speaker not to receive an immediate peerage was Henry Addington in the late 1700's.