Commons Speaker John Bercow has made a fresh appeal to party leaders to find ways to curb the “yobbery and public school twittishness” of their MPs at Prime Minister’s question time.
Mr Bercow has written to David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg seeking their responses to evidence that the tone and content is putting voters off politics, the Independent reported.
Research by the Hansard Society found the most common descriptions of the weekly 30-minute Commons session were “noisy”, “childish”, “over the top” and pointless.
The Speaker has long called for reform of the set-piece session for the sake of improving parliament’s public image and has been strident in chastising offending MPs.
Focus groups were asked about PMQs as part of the Hansard Society’s annual examination of public engagement and more than two thirds said there was “too much party political point-scoring instead of answering the question”.
Almost half (47 per cent) said it was “too noisy and aggressive”, still more (48 per cent) disagreed that MPs behaved professionally and by a majority of 33 per cent to 27 per cent the panel reported that it put them off politics.
Only 12 per cent said it made them “proud of our Parliament”.
“There are people who think culturally the atmosphere is very male, very testosterone-fuelled and, in the worst cases, of yobbery and public school twittishness,” Mr Bercow told the newspaper.
“I don’t think we should be prissy about this, but I am not sure we’re setting a good example to the next generation of voters.”
Dr Ruth Fox, director aat the Hansard Society, said: “Reform is overdue if PMQs is to move from being an inward-looking and self-referential event towards its proper role of scrutiny and accountability.”
Bring down curtain on pantomiome: Page 11.