Bercow Battered By Barrister

Top Barrister Slams John Bercow In Devastating Letter

It seems that Rebecca Butler

is somewhat of a TV & Social Media sensation with a viral appearance on Question Time as well as videos on social media slamming the betrayal of our veterans, and remainer politicians. She wrote to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards about Bercow.

Kathryn Stone OBE
Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
House of Commons,
London SW1A 0AA

standardscommissioner@parliament.uk
9th October 2019

Dear Mrs Stone,

New Complaint; John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons

I write to lodge a formal complaint against the Speaker of the House of Commons, Mr John Bercow. The role of speaker attracts a salary of £142,826 plus free residence and expenses. He is a public servant. As such, not only is he required to abide by the standards of the role he has acquired, but he is also bound by the Nolan Standards in Public Life.

My complaint against the speaker is raised upon the following grounds:

• Breach of Speaker’s duty to remain non-partisan:

John Bercow has shown a blatant disregard for this most fundamental aspect of his position. On 10th January 2019, Mr Bercow agreed to allow a vote on an amendment to a government motion tabled by Dominic Grieve. In doing so, he broke with precedent and ignored the advice of his officials when he approved a vote on the PM’s “Plan B” response.

I allege that he deliberately and arbitrarily changed the rules for the amendment. Business of the House motions are only amendable by ministers of the Crown, but this drove a coach and horses through accepted normal practice.

His motivation for this was to undermine the government who was pursuing an orderly exit from the EU. He appears to have no accountability to anyone but himself. His actions are Unreasonable and Breach a Legitimate expectation that he will remain non-partisan.

The courts have set a limit to the lawful exercise of power by holding that the extent to which the measure impedes or frustrates the operation of the relevant principle must have a reasonable justification. That approach can be seen, for example, in R (UNISON) v Lord Chancellor [2017] UKSC 51; [2017] 3 WLR 409, paras 80-82 and 88-89.

Furthermore, Lady Hale, President of the Supreme Court in the case of Miller v PM [2019] UKSC 41 at paras 49-51 clearly explains that prerogative powers and powers conferred by convention and the constitution are amenable to a (legal) test of reasonableness. (The Wednesbury Reasonableness test). So, following the most recent precedent, it is not simply statutory bodies who can be held to account in a court of law and the reasonableness of their decision making tested.

When a judge is challenged on bias, the law is clear. The test for apparent bias is ‘whether the fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts, would conclude that there was a real possibility that the tribunal was biased’ (Porter v Magill [2002] 2 AC 357). So, it is not simply a case that bias on its’ own is proven but that the “appearance of bias” is absent. It is averred that a standard applying to the judiciary, working as they do as public servants, with a duty to remain non-partisan also applies to the Speaker.

2. Breach of the Nolan Standard of Integrity.
The Nolan standard states that: “Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.”

During the lifecycle of the Withdrawal Bill through the House of Commons Mr Bercow has placed himself under an obligation to the members of the opposition parties and has demonstrated bias in so doing. He has been influenced by his own views on Brexit and proudly drives his wife’s car bearing a sticker “Bollocks to Brexit”. This alone undermines the dignity of the role of speaker. In performance of his role as Speaker, he should be required to publicly state and “declare” in the words of Nolan his own interest in and relationships connected with evading Brexit.

3. Breach of the Nolan Standard for Objectivity.

“Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.”

I refer to the Speaker’s conduct in the House of Commons generally and specifically his behaviour during the prorogation of Parliament. I attach for your reference a video clip of the Speaker during that ceremony on Monday 9th September.

He clearly insults and demeans members on the Tory benches. In so doing he undermines the dignity and role of the Speaker. He is and behaves like a bully. Seemingly never held to account.

Furthermore, on 9th October 2019 the Speaker met with his equivalent at the European Parliament to discuss ways in which the Government’s policy could be undermined. He openly admitted his role in facilitating what will be a second referendum on membership of the EU, having secured an extension.

His bias is plain for all to see. It is not his position to undermine or sway government policy with any individual and abuses his post in so doing.

4. Leadership

“Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.”

This Speaker repeatedly displays poor behaviour. He has many allegations of bullying against him, his manner is bullying and vindictive. In a world where all parties declare a desire to encourage women to participate in Parliament how can this man’s behaviour be said to be conducive to that? He is an abomination. How can he legitimately show leadership when his own behaviour is so poor?

Given that holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this (Nolan Principle 4) I remain confident that in your role you will hold the Speaker accountable for his actions.

I write this letter with the silent support of many people and look forward to your earliest response. I am, available to give evidence to your committee at your convenience. I reserve my position to elaborate on these complaints, should the need arise.

Yours sincerely,

Rebecca Butler
Barrister

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