MP challenges Speaker over his choice for Commons job

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WIDESPREAD CONCERN exists among MPs that the process to appoint a new Commons head clerk chaired by John Bercow was “seriously flawed”, a Conservative MP has said.

Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire) last night called on the Speaker to officially withdraw his letter to Number 10 which proposed that Australian official Carol Mills should be appointed to the historic post, suggesting a “fully open, competitive and transparent” selection process should take place.

Mr Bercow has been subject to pressure over the decision to recommend Ms Mills for the £200,000-a-year post, amid claims she was not qualified to rule on constitutionally critical matters in the chamber, as well as questions over investigations into her conduct by the Australian senate.

Under the proposal contained in the motion, Labour veteran Jack Straw (Blackburn) would chair a committee tasked with examining the merits of a split in the current post to separate clerk and chief executive roles.

Tory Philip Davies (Shipley) said: “I don’t actually agree with the decision on this appointment, nor some of the process around it.

“However, I think for some of my colleagues to use this as a Trojan Horse for a personal vendetta against the Speaker is in danger of making them look absolutely ridiculous. It isn’t actually getting us very far.”