IN his seven years as Speaker, John Bercow has done much to transform the House of Commons.He has removed some of its more ridiculous and pompous rules and championed the rights of backbenchers to hold ministers to account. But whatever good he might have done, he is now an embarrassment.Donald Trump divides opinion like no other world leader. But it isn’t the Speaker’s job to take sides in that debate.Mr Bercow’s attack on President Trump last week was partisan and political, everything that Mr Speaker should not be.That alone should be enough to put his position in jeopardy.But the revelations this weekend over his protection of disgraced MP Keith Vaz leave huge questions about his personal probity. He barred Tory MP Andrew Bridgen from mentioning the police inquiry into the Leicester East MP in the Commons.He blocked Freedom of Information requests into contact between the Speaker’s office and Mr Vaz.And he accepted tens of thousands of pounds of gifts … [Read more...] about John Bercow has lost the respect he needs to do the job as Speaker in the House of Commons after our Keith Vaz probe
New speaker of the house
AN MP on maternity leave brought her new bouncing baby into Parliament so she could support triggering Article 50 in the historic Brexit vote.Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, was welcomed into the House of Commons by Speaker of the House John Bercow.He shouted: "I say to the honourable lady, don't be sheepish about it! The little baby is welcome to come in. There's no problem."Despite backing Brexit today, the MP was opposed to leaving the EU before June's referendum.Announcing her plans to vote in Parliament today, Mrs Smith wrote on her website: "Brexit is now the central issue of our times."So, I'll be there voting for this crucial Bill to uphold the democratic result of the referendum."I'm grateful to everyone in north Norwich who's let me know their views."Since giving birth to a baby boy in September, the MP has used Shared Parental Leave with her husband Sandy.She plans to fully return to work in Norwich and Parliament at the start of April.Mrs Smith added: "Being a … [Read more...] about Brexit-backing MP Chloe Smith welcomed into the House of Commons with her BABY to vote on triggering Article 50
PAUL Ryan is the current Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives.It was widely predicted that he was unlikely to retain his position as the 54th speaker after Donald Trump's huge victory over Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.He said he will seek re-election, but as it seems he will not need to, as a spokesman confirmed he will remain in the position.Making his first public comments since Trump’s upset victory, Ryan himself said: “We had great conversations about how we would work together on the transition.”Ryan has been speaker for a year after his predecessor, John Boehner, retired.He has a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from Miami University.He was first elected to the House in 1998 as the second youngest member.Since then he has been re-elected eight times and never received less than 55 per cent of the vote.Usually speakers run for two year terms.The 46-year-old from Janesville, Wisconsin was his party's 2012 vice … [Read more...] about Who is Paul Ryan and will he remain Speaker of the House now Donald Trump is President?
THE Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, was re-elected following the snap General Election in June 2017.As Parliament returned the first job was to elect the Speaker before business can resume as normal - but how did he get the job?John Bercow began his career in politics in 1986 when he was elected as a Conservative councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth.Then, 11 years later, the Tory won a seat in Parliament with a majority of more than 12,000 - securing a safe seat in the constituency of Buckingham.Since then he has worked in various senior positions in the opposition government, before resigning as Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions when he rebelled against a three-line whip.The MP voted in favour of allowing unmarried gay and heterosexual couples to adopt children - against the wishes of his Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith.In 2009 he was made Speaker of the House of Commons following a long campaign under the radar - and despite little support from his … [Read more...] about Who is John Bercow, how long has he been Speaker of the House of Commons and how did he get the job?
Former Duma boss Sergei Naryshkin, who is widely reported to have served alongside Putin in the Soviet-era KGB spy agency, is due to take over as head of the SVR. Naryshkin is considered to be a longtime Putin ally. According to Naryshkin's biography he served at the Soviet embassy in Brussels during the 1980s before working with Putin in the Saint Petersburg mayor's office. Naryshkin replaces Mikhail Fradkov, days after the ruling United Russia party won legislative elections which led to a new speaker of the house taking over. Fradkov had previously served as prime minister under Putin for four years before taking leadership of the SVR in 2008, and will now move to the board of directors at the state-run Russian Railways. The announcement came as the latest in a series of changes at the top of Russia's power structure, most notably the departure of longtime ally Sergei Ivanov as the Kremlin's chief of staff. Spy games The change in leadership of the SVR comes during … [Read more...] about Putin appoints long-term ally as new intelligence agency boss
Congressman Paul Ryan was all but guaranteed the speaker of the House job late on Wednesday when the majority of an influential group of staunchly conservative Republicans voted to endorse him should he enter the race. The protracted debate over who should succeed John Boehner, who unexpectedly resigned last month, has exposed deep divisions between House Republicans. Around two-thirds of the 40-odd members of the "Freedom Caucus" in the US House of Representatives voted to support Ryan. This is under the 80 percent required by Freedom Caucus rules to formally promote a candidate, but Ryan may have secured just enough votes to guarantee him the speaker job. "The bottom line is if he wants to be speaker, he's got the votes as of tonight," said Representative Mick Mulvaney, a pro-Ryan member of the caucus. Ryan called the support "a positive step toward a unified Republican team," and said he looked forward to hearing from two other House Republican groups by the end of the week. … [Read more...] about Paul Ryan poised for House speaker job
Paul Ryan, a Republican representative from the US state of Wisconsin, officially declared his candidacy for the speaker of the House of Representatives after garnering support from various rightwing Republican factions. "I never thought I'd be speaker. But I pledged to you that if I could be a unifying figure, then I would serve - I would go all in," Ryan noted in a letter to Republican lawmakers. 'Positive step' Earlier this week, Ryan said he was open to serving as house speaker, but only if Republican party factions united behind him, including the far-right House Freedom Caucus. "After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as a one, united team. And I am ready and eager to be our speaker," Ryan said. Ryan also garnered support from the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, which allegedly forced House Speaker John Boehner into resigning. Support, but not an endorsement Ryan's preconditions for advancing his … [Read more...] about Paul Ryan announces formal candidacy for US House speaker
Deutsche Welle: How surprised were you that the US budget crisis really did explode and the US government shutdown did happen? James Davis: I don't think I was very surprised. All of the signs these last few days pointed in the direction of a shutdown. It seems the far-right wing of the Republican Party - the Tea Party part of the Republican Party - is just not willing to compromise on this issue. They think that by means of a budget impasse and a shutdown of the government, they're somehow going to be able to reverse the health care reforms President Obama secured in his first administration - and the President is just not willing to compromise on that. So, the signs were all pointing in this direction. Who is to blame - just the Republican Party? And who benefits politically from this shutdown? In the end, I think it is the Republican Party that's to blame. The origins of the problem are in the polarization in the Republican Party: it's a party that has one wing that is so far to … [Read more...] about ‘The Republicans are the problem’
Rebuffing President Obama's plea that Congress sit tight on any Iran sanctions until after the deadline for a deal on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program passes in July, Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner announced on Wednesday he had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress next months on the threats emanating from Tehran. The Associated Press reported that Boehner told his colleagues that Obama "expects us to stand idly by and do nothing while he cuts a bad deal with Iran," before adding "Two words: ‘Hell no!'…We're going to do no such thing." A departure from protocol When asked about the president's response, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said coolly, "The typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he is travelling there. This is certainly how President Obama's trips are planned… So this particular event seems to be a departure from … [Read more...] about White House frosty after Republicans invite Netanyahu to Congress
The United States, better known an energy guzzler, now hopes to become an energy supplier - of natural gas, that is. "We, it turns out, are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas," said US President Barack Obama. "We have a lot of it." The US natural gas boom, enabled by new fracking technologies, is fueling not only the country's home furnaces but also its confidence. By 2020, the country aims to outrank the Middle East as the world's leading energy nation. The prospect of the Americans producing more oil and natural gas than they consume is viewed by many members of Congress as an opportunity to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Producing more than consuming Fuel as a weapon in a new Cold War: The Crimean crisis is adding weight to that thought, especially in the ranks of the Republicans. The primary concern of the US, conservative Congressman Robert Pittenger told DW, is to support the energy requirements of Europe and Ukraine. Pittenger and other members of Congress … [Read more...] about Fuel for the next cold war