The Speaker of the House of Commons will face a motion of no confidence over his criticisms of Donald Trump’s planned state visit.
The motion, filed by Tory MP James Duddridge, calls on Prime Minister Theresa May to establish a free vote if a vote of no confidence is triggered.
The PM has refused to put her support behind the Speaker, with a No 10 spokesperson stating that it is a matter for Parliament.
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) February 8, 2017
@JamesDuddridge You have shown exceptional courage & leadership as is your custom.I will be signing your motion of no confidence in Speaker
— Daniel Kawczynski MP (@KawczynskiMP) February 10, 2017
Speaking to the Huffington Post, Duddridge said: “The Speaker has lost the confidence of the House. He overstepped the mark. He is not there to put forward his views, when he starts doing that he becomes incapable of representing the full opinions of the House of Commons.”
Fellow Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke has publicly backed the motion. Speaking to Sky News, he said: “He has not remained impartial…the comments of the Speaker showed that he does not accept the democratic outcome of an election.”
Here we go: Alec Shelbrooke: “I will put my name to any document. John Bercow has brought the Speaker’s office into disrepute.”
— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) February 9, 2017
The Commons Speaker oversees the House of Commons’ debates, acting as an impartial and neutral member of the chamber.
The comments from Bercow that have caused the motion to be filed criticise President Trump’s planned visit to the UK, with the Speaker being in opposition to a proposed speech from the former reality star in Westminster Hall.
Bercow said: “I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall, but after the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump, I am even more strongly opposed.”
Bercow added: “I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism, and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons.”
Questions over Bercow’s impartiality have also been raised after footage emerged of him telling students that he voted remain in the EU referendum.
Speaking at Reading University, he said: “Personally, I voted to remain. I thought it was better to stay in the European Union than not.”
Parliament is currently in recess until February 20, meaning that no vote in the House of Commons can take place until MPs return.
Bercow’s position as Speaker of the House of Commons has previously felt the wrath of his fellow Tory MPs.
Former Conservative Party leader William Hague tabled a motion to introduce a secret ballot to decide Bercow’s future after the 2015 general election. The motion was narrowly defeated by 228 votes to 202.