Tories back down from confonting the Speaker…

In the UK there is an unwritten Constitution. In Ireland the Republic there is a written one. The supposed advantage of the British model is that it is flexible and intelligent. The problem is that some of it needs to be unheld by individuals. Last week the Metropolitan Police found a weak point and arrested an MP on a point of Common Law, with the acquiesence of the Commons’ authorities. The Opposition Tory party which has been animated on that Constitutional issue ever since suddenly went all soft and gooey at what should have been the moment of reckoning for the Speaker and the Serjeant at Arms. Paul thinks he knows why!

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  • crownesq

    I would listen to the ex DPP for England and Wales who wonders why the police did not take legal advice before planning the searches. His advice was that they would have been told not to go there. I suspect the Conservatives will pick their moment and today was not that moment. The debate next Monday is a more appropriate time and will allow MP’s from all sides to vent their spleen – it will affect both sides so even Labour will be circumspect about avoiding criticism of the Speaker and others. As for the Speaker – time to go he is an idiot and far too partisan for his own good – when told of the raid he probably thought good let them have it they are only Tories after all – didn’t have the gumption to work out the long game.

  • Brian Walker

    Mick. I’ve tried to offer the simple sequence below of what was an almighty balls-up at every level.http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/pass-the-parcel/. No doubt there’s lots more to come out.The one thing that prompts a twinge of sympathy with the mediocre Speaker is the class- conscious venom of some of the Tories, including bloggers and commentators – almost as inadequate as Martin’s chippy inability to get on with military grandees like the previous Serjeant, General Peter Grant-Peterkin, who would probably have headed this off.There never was much of a chance of a Conservative protest against the Speaker. A debate was fixed up yesterday and yet the rumbles kept on to stoke the row. In Ireland with its written constitution, I wonder what would happen if the Gardai tried it on? There’s a case for saying they should have arrested quite a few just before the Arms Trial 1970, CJ Haughey (again) 1979-93, Ray Burke, Michael Lowry etc etc. It might have saved southern taxpayers a fortune in tribunal costs. And no one can say the Gardai were free of political influence in the high days of Sean Doherty as Minister for Jusitice and “Two guns” Ainsworth as deputy Garda Commissioner – pace the written constitution.

  • dub

    A constitution is a basic law which overrides and sets a template for statutory law passed by parliaments. in the uk westminster is supreme, nothing can trump it. therefore the uk has NO constitution, not merely just an unwritten one.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Daft as a brush. All countries which have governments and laws have a constitution.

    And actually, the UK *does* have a written constitution. It’s not all written on one piece of paper, that’s all.

  • Harry Flashman

    “And actually, the UK *does* have a written constitution. It’s not all written on one piece of paper, that’s all.”

    That has certainly been my understanding of the state of affairs, even if the constitution of the UK was a simple “Parliament is supreme” then that is ipso facto a constitution.

    The whole subtext of this current affair would seem to be a vindication of Matthew Parris’ discerning take on it on Saturday, it seems to have been a Thomas A Beckett moment, a couple of over ambitious cops figured they could curry favour with their bosses by going on a flyer, who would care? It was only a Tory Boy they were nicking and they might end up being Commissioner of the Met.

    The Speaker (who will be resigning with whatever dignity he has left come the next election) and the Labour Party are adopting the “Don’t blame us guv, it was those stupid rozzers what done it” defence, a salutary lesson for the police should they ever be so silly as to get involved in such party political chicanery again.

    Meanwhile the “modernisers” who so disliked the men in tights brigade have ample opportunity to think over their replacement of an ex-general with a nice wee lady, there are reasons for old fashioned customs and conventions, it’s often best not to chuck them out without thinking through what you’re putting in their place.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Get a grip Harry. It wasn’t even a Samuel Beckett moment.

  • Baz está fresco em Vermont

    “No doubt there’s lots more to come out.The one thing that prompts a twinge of sympathy with the mediocre Speaker is the class- conscious venom of some of the Tories”

    With all due respect, he just isn’t of the right sort, it’s got nothing to do with class, he is just wrong for his office.

    He’s a pig’s ear of a speaker, nobility, he doesn’t do and that is not class related.

    I would say, he was the wrong class of person, I would say that and it isn’t the difference between Oundle and a comprehensive.