Order! Bercow writes to party leaders calling for end to “public school twittishness” at PMQs

The House of Commons speaker, John Bercow, has written to party leaders urging them to put an end to beahviour he described as “yobbery and public school twittishness” during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions sessions.

Bercow said he had decided to intervene after hearing from MPs that party whips had orchestrated a “wall of noise”.

In his letter to David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, which was revealed to the Independent, Bercow asks for their comments on a recent Hansard Society report that outlined widespread public discontent and alienation at the weekly half-hour spectacle.

In his letter, the speaker said that he didn’t want to be “prissy” about the issue and accepted that “passions will be aroused”, but added: “There are people who think culturally the atmosphere is very male, very testosterone-fuelled and, in the worst cases, of yobbery and public school twittishness.”

The Hansard Society report found that 67% of respondents felt “there is too much party political point scoring instead of answering the question” and only 12% agreed that “PMQs makes me proud of Parliament”.

The speaker also said that he was sorry that “some very good female members of Parliament on both sides” are leaving the Commons at the next election, and added that women are generally “less inclined to screech and shout”.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Not before time! The rest of the world considers quiet, orderly debate the height of professionalism. How out of touch with the population are all political parties if they imagine any of us is impressed with the weekly shouting and jeering match between 'professionals' charged with running our country; they can't run a peaceful meeting never mind organise a country. What's just as worrying is if they think that behaviour is acceptable, what goes on behind closed doors, bullying? fagging? or just good old fashioned beatings?

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