Pressure on Speaker over new clerk

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Downing Street has upped the pressure on Speaker John Bercow by insisting the new Commons clerk needs to have the backing of MPs.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister confirmed that David Cameron had yet to pass on the nomination of Australian Carol Mills to the Queen for approval.

Stressing that the appointment was “ultimately a matter for the House and for the Speaker”, the spokeswoman said: “Clearly it is an important role and in order for the individual to be able to carry it out successfully, they would need support from MPs across the House of Commons.”

The comments come after senior MPs raised concerns over Ms Mills’s lack of knowledge about Westminster procedures.

The prestigious £200,000-a-year post combines the clerk’s duties as a key constitutional adviser with the role of Commons chief executive.