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Wed, 3 June 2020

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Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing takes swipe at John Bercow's 'impartiality' in plea for Brexit calm

Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing takes swipe at John Bercow's 'impartiality' in plea for Brexit calm
2 min read

Commons Speaker John Bercow's "impartiality" has been called into question by one of the deputies who wants his job.

Eleanor Laing said "large numbers" of MPs believe Mr Bercow is biased when it comes to Brexit.

She spoke out as she pledged to defuse the toxic atmosphere in the Commons if she becomes Mr Bercow's successor.

The Speaker has pledged to to stand down on 31 October after 11 years in the job.

Tory MP Ms Laing, who has been Deputy Speaker for nearly six years, also appeared to criticise Boris Johnson, who has been accused of inflaming tensions by describing a law blocking a no-deal Brexit as the "surrender act".

Speaking on Radio Four's Today programme, she said: "Parliament shouldn’t be boiling over. Parliament should not be encouraging the people who elect us to use such extreme language

"It’s our duty as MPs to lead by example. It’s time to calm down."

Asked how she would calm the current febrile atmosphere if she becomes Speaker, Ms Laing said: "It’s a matter of leading by example and the person who occupies the chair should use moderate language and not be aggressive - I’m not suggesting that Speaker Bercow has been in any way agressive, he’s been a very good Speaker in many ways

"But whatever’s happening now it isn’t working so we need to do things rather differently."

She added: "It'ss not necessarily my opinion, but there are large numbers of Members of Parliament who feel that the impartiality of the chair has been possibly diminished.

"It's quite simple to see what we should do here - it’s all a matter of respect."

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