Diary - Speaker takes unilateral action

Out on a run on a very cold morning! Coffee and croissant later much needed. Into the House where I dealt with routine matters before dropping down to PMQs. These weren't especially enlightening, although the PM encouragingly stuck to her guns that we would be leaving the EU on 29 March. It's what happened after PMQs that was interesting. In short, the Speaker had allowed a controversial amendment to the Government's EU Withdrawal Act, which specifically stated that amendments were not allowed. The amendment, from Remainers, called for the Government to come back to the House after three days, rather than the stipulated 21, in the event Mrs May's deal is defeated next Tuesday. By not following parliament rules in Erskine May, the Speaker was clearly showing bias to allow this amendment to be voted on. Bercow is an avowed Remainer. Many MPs on our side of the House rose on Points of Order to challenge the Speaker, who claimed he had taken advice from his clerks, but would not say what that advice was. The whole thing developed into a farce and the Speaker came out badly. It is vital for trust in the House that the Speaker is strictly neutral and this he clearly is not. I was saddened by this as, up to now, Bercow has shown a willingness to stand up for Backbenchers, but his explanation that he was not showing bias simply did not wash with any of my colleagues. I stayed on to support an excellent Ten Minute Rule Bill submitted by my colleague and former soldier Leo Docherty that would see parts of the European Convention on Human Rights no longer applying to our military on future operations. This follows a witch hunt on our veterans, of whom some have been accused of doing wrong many decades ago and are still being chased today. This is totally unacceptable. This is part of a concerted effort by several MPs, most of whom are veterans themselves, like me. Then it was time to restart the debate on the EU Withdrawal Bill, so dramatically pulled by the Government some weeks ago. The big vote is next Tuesday. Back to the office where I drafted a letter of support for more money from the Coastal Community Fund. This is an important source of funds and DCC has got its bid through to Round 2.