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Speaker: Party leaders must do more about rowdy MPs

Party leaders are not doing enough to get rowdy MPs under control at PMQs, the Speaker of the House of Commons told Radio 4's PM programme.

In a wide-ranging interview covering MPs expenses and sexual harassment in Parliament, John Bercow criticised all party leaders for not delivering a "specific commitment" on their members behaviour.

I have heard back from the party leaders.

There is a general sense, 'Yes Mr Speaker you make a good point and of course we must behave well and try to impress the public and give serious consideration to what people think', but there's not yet much by way of a specific commitment."

I know there are people in the Westminster beltway, including in the press gallery, who think, 'Well, what's the Speaker moaning about? Why is he so neurotic? This is the way people like it'.

To which my answer is no, that's the way you like it.

– John Bercow

Read: MPs put off PMQs by bad behaviour, warns Bercow

MPs put off PMQs by bad behaviour, warns speaker

MPs are increasingly put off Prime Ministers Questions (PMQs) by the "histrionics and cacophony of noise", the Speaker of the House of Commons has warned.

Read: 'Dunce' Cameron takes aim at 'muppet' Miliband

John Bercow
John Bercow has to frequently call the house to order during PMQs. Credit: PA

John Bercow said women MPs and "seasoned parliamentarians" had given up attending the weekly question and answer session because of bad behaviour by other members of the house.

Mr Bercow said Parliament was "spray painting its own shop window" by appearing to generate higher decibel levels than heavy metal band Deep Purple, regarded as the loudest band in the world in some quarters.

He told BBC Radio 4's PM programme there are "down-market parts of the media" who would "positively relish" it if there was a fight on the floor of the Commons chamber.

Read: Tory MP Anne Marie Morris steals show at PMQs with ear-busting outburst


Bercow: Noise in Parliament 'puts MPs off contributing'

The House of Commons Speaker has criticised the "histrionics and cacophony of noise" during Prime Minister's Questions, saying it puts MPs off contributing.

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow
Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow calls for order during Prime Minister's Questions. Credit: PA

John Bercow, who is responsible for maintaining order in the Commons, said Parliament was "spray painting its own shop window" by appearing to generate higher decibel levels than Deep Purple.

He said that despite recognising that behaviour must improve, the party leaders had yet to make a specific commitment to help do so.

BBC Radio 4's PM programme said Mr Bercow told them that "seasoned parliamentarians" boycotted PMQs out of embarrassment and that some female MPs did not want to take part in the session.

Bercow: MPs expenses were 'displacement activity'

MPs fiddled their expenses as a "displacement activity" because Parliament had become irrelevant and ineffective, according to Speaker John Bercow.

Mr Bercow suggested the 2009 scandal was as much a symptom of decades of decline as "malice or corruption" as he urged action to ensure Westminster kept up with the modern world.

Bercow: MPs expenses were 'displacement activity'
Bercow: MPs expenses were 'displacement activity' Credit: PA/PA Wire

In a speech to the Hansard Society, Mr Bercow said that after he became Speaker in June 2009 he feared for the future of parliament."The blunt truth is that the expenses debacle was a particularly embarrassing layer of icing on an especially unappetising cake.

"The reality in 2009 is that the House of Commons as a meaningful political institution, an effective legislature, had been in decline for some decades."

Mr Bercow said the Commons had become, "little more than a cross between a rubber stamp and a talking shop", which:

"Had taken to collective activity such as the imaginative interpretation of what might be a legitimate expense claim as much as an odd form of displacement activity as out of any shared sense of malice or corruption."

Commons speaker accused of acting like 'arrogant toff'

Commons Speaker John Bercow has been accused of behaving like an "arrogant toff" by a motorist who claims he scratched her parked car.

House of Commons speaker John Bercow
House of Commons speaker John Bercow Credit: PA Wire

Nathalie Pulford, 42, was dining in London's affluent Chelsea neighbourhood when she claims she spotted Mr Bercow bump her car while maneuvering into a tight space.

Ms Pulford told the Evening Standard she confronted Mr Bercow, who denied he had scratched her car. "It sounds petty but it's the principle. As far as I'm concerned he's a little weasel who should take responsibility," she added.

A spokesman said that Mr Bercow "strongly denies that his car hit this lady's car" and that "if she wants to raise it with her insurer, he would be more than happy to defend himself and explain what happened."


Speaker criticises minister over 'chuntering' remark

Speaker John Bercow has ordered a Government minister to stop suggesting that a fellow MP was "chuntering" in the Commons.

Transport Minister Simon Burns told Labour MP Kevan Jones to stop "chuntering" - meaning to talk or grumble in a boring fashion - when he was speaking about high-speed rail.

John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Speaker said it was"inappropriate" for Mr Burns to make such suggestions, as he himself was someone who chunters "extremely noisily".

Mr Bercow said: "Mr Jones wasn't chuntering. There are many people who do chunter in the House, in some cases extremely noisily and an exemplar of that approach is you."

Farage: 'Bercow is a disgrace to the office of Speaker'

Commons speaker John Bercow's comments on migrant workers has raised questions about his political neutrality. As Speaker, Mr Bercow is expected to stay out of active political debates.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage. Credit: Press Association

Nigel Farage, the UK Independence Party leader told the Daily Telegraph: "It is outrageous that Mr Bercow is happy to overthrow the wisdom of ages and think it acceptable to comment on matters that are both highly political and deeply contentious.

"He is a disgrace to the office of Speaker. There are very good practical and constitutional reasons why the Speaker is neutral, reasons that he obviously believes are beneath his own august self image.”

Speaker John Bercow: Migrants are better workers

Eastern European migrants show more "aptitude and commitment" to work than British people, the Commons Speaker John Bercow has said.

Commons Speaker John Bercow. Credit: Press Association

In remarks on a visit to Romania last week, Mr Bercow spoke about the “important wave of immigrants” that have come to Britain in recent years, and praised their work ethic, “ reports The Daily Telegraph.

He said: "I believe things should be controlled and monitored when it comes to migration, any state that wants to protect its own people should do this, but there are also great advantages.

“I want to underline the fact that there has been an important wave of immigrants that came to Great Britain from new member states and in many cases they came with aptitudes and a commitment, an involvement we haven’t always seen in our labour force.”

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