Andrea Leadsom questions Commons Speaker John Bercow’s impartiality on Brexit
Andrea Leadsom has called the impartiality of the Commons Speaker John Bercow into question over his views on Brexit.
The Commons leader said Mr Bercow's decision to publicly admit he voted to remain in the Brexit referendum was a "challenge" for Parliament.
Last year Mr Bercow told students at Reading University: “Personally, I voted to remain. I thought it was better to stay in the European Union than not.”
Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, Ms Leadsom said: “Well, I think he has made his views on Brexit on the record, and the problem with that of course is the Chair’s impartiality is absolutely essential.”
“He had made his views known on Brexit. It is a matter for him, but I think nevertheless it’s a challenge and all colleagues need to form their own view on that.”
Ms Leadsom is the most senior member of her party to raise questions about Mr Bercow's impartiality after he made the admission last year.
During his speech to students, Mr Bercow said there had been “untruths” told during the campaign and that “promises were made that could not be kept.”
But pressed on whether she would be seeking to remove the Speaker from his position, Ms Leadsom added: “The position of the Speaker is a matter for him and for Parliament, and not a matter for me… I am not going to put words in people’s mouths.”
The attack on Mr Bercow came just hours after he branded Mrs May “deeply discourteous” for pulling her Brexit motion from the Commons without putting it to a vote.
“Halting the debate after no fewer than 164 colleagues have taken the trouble to contribute will be thought by many members of this House to be deeply discourteous,” he said.
“Indeed, in the hours since news of this intention emerged, many colleagues from across the House have registered that view to me in the most forceful terms.”
He added: “I politely suggest that in any courteous, respectful and mature environment, allowing the House to have a say - its say - on this matter would be the right and, dare I say, the obvious course to take.”