Lindsay Hoyle is a very different Speaker to John Bercow. He talks less, chairs in a kindly manner, and keeps the Commons running to time. Today he announced a new procedure designed to prevent a repeat of the excesses of the Bercow era. In a brief statement after PMQs, he said that from now on if the Clerk of the House disagreed with the Speaker’s decision on procedural grounds, the Clerk would have the ability to ask for a written direction equivalent to what civil servants can request from ministers who want to proceed with a course of action despite advice to the contrary from ministers. The Clerk’s objections would then be lodged in the Commons’ library.
Hoyle’s proposals would not stop a Speaker from ignoring the advice of the clerks. But it would mean that MPs and the public would know when that happened, injecting some much needed transparency into the process.