Watch the Tory speaker spontaneously shut down the Chancellor for being blatantly antidemocratic

Philip Hammond and John Bercow
Support us and go ad-free

Conservative speaker John Bercow, who acts as a cross-party referee in the Commons, spontaneously shut down the chancellor for the government’s treatment of parliament.

In a historic first, MPs had already found Theresa May’s administration in contempt of parliament on 4 December. May had tried to override a binding parliamentary vote in order to hide her Brexit legal advice.

Then, the government simply cancelled the Commons vote on May’s Brexit deal just 12 minutes after Downing Street said it would go ahead, and after parliament had spent days debating the proposal.

“Blindingly obvious”

Still, on 11 December, chancellor Philip Hammond was demanding his Labour counterpart John McDonnell “vote” through the deal – until Bercow felt forced to call him out:

Hammond claimed:

There is a deal on the table that will end the uncertainty and allow this country to move on… all he has to do is get behind it, vote for the prime minister’s deal and we can all move on.

But then Bercow pointed out:

I’d just very gently say to the chancellor, to whom I’ve been listening with great care, it’s quite difficult to vote for something if there isn’t a vote. I’m only trying to help the right honourable gentleman, but it’s a point so blindingly obvious I’m surprised that I have to state it, but manifestly I do.


Bercow had already chastised the Conservative government for calling off the vote on 10 December. The speaker told the Commons that May’s administration is ignoring what he said was “in democratic terms the infinitely preferable way”, which was for MPs to vote on whether the matter should be postponed.

He also said:

Halting the debate after no fewer than 164 colleagues have taken the trouble to contribute will be thought by many members of this House to be deeply discourteous.

Indeed, in the hours since news of this intention emerged, many colleagues from across the House have registered that view to me in the most forceful terms.

It’s clear as day that the Conservative government is in office, but not in power. May has no majority for any version of Brexit, so there must be a general election to rebalance the parliamentary arithmetic. But May’s tactic seems to be to cling on and up the stakes as we draw closer to 29 March, when the UK leaves the EU. So Bercow is quite right to call out the government. Because May is literally holding the country to ransom.

Featured image via OFOC/ Twitter

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us