Anyone hoping that John Bercow would fall flat in his first session of prime minister’s questions (Tory MPs, for example) would have been disappointed.
He didn’t hesitate to put down unruly MPs. Or warn them that the public didn’t like rowdy behaviour: “There is simply far too much noise. The public doesn’t like it and neither do I.”
At one point he silenced Tory MP Michael Fabricant: “Mr Fabricant, you must calm yourself; it’s not good for your health.”
After the session Bercow set out his stall, ordering ministers to make more snappy statements and so on. He said he was unhappy with policy statements being released to the media before the House of Commons.
This will be a key test of his powers – and whether the office of Speaker is more toothless than some presume. For the last decade it has been common practice for hacks to get wind of policy changes before the Commons (and no I’m not complaining). Will Bercow really prevent this? And if so, how?
If you didn’t see it, here is the less agreeable side of Bercow, as seen in an interview with ITN’s Tom Bradby.