Most Cabinet ministers would vote to remove John Bercow, claims Tory MP
Most of the Cabinet would vote to oust under-fire Commons Speaker John Bercow , one of his leading critics has claimed.
Tory MPs have questioned how Mr Bercow can be seen as neutral after he revealed he voted Remain in the Brexit referendum, and after he branded US President Donald Trump "racist and sexist".
Former minister James Duddridge is pushing for a vote of no confidence in the Speaker and claimed that only a "handful" of Cabinet ministers would fail to back it.
Downing Street has said Mr Bercow's future is a "matter for MPs", in a sign that ministers will not be whipped into a position in any vote of no confidence.
Mr Duddridge told the Press Association: "I have spoken to a couple of people in the Cabinet who say they would vote for the no confidence motion now they have been released (from any Government whip).
"Certainly I expect the majority to support the vote of no confidence. "
Mr Bercow was plunged into fresh controversy after a video emerged of him talking to students at Reading University on February 3, in which he said: "Personally, I voted to Remain. I thought it was better to stay in the European Union than not."
In the video, obtained by the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Bercow said immigration has been a good thing for Britain.
He also referred to "untruths" during the Brexit campaign and expressed hopes that Parliament would maintain changes to working hours and health and safety protections after Brexit.
It comes after he effectively banned Mr Trump from addressing Parliament during a state visit.
Parliament's website says the Commons Speaker "must remain politically impartial at all times" and the controversies have led to calls for his resignation before the Commons returns from recess on February 20 .
Mr Duddridge said Mr Bercow may take up a potential compromise solution and resign, after former culture secretary John Whittingdale suggested the Speaker's term of office was coming to a natural end.
Even if it came to a vote and the Speaker won narrowly, his position could still be untenable, Mr Duddridge said.
"If he has the support of 50%-plus-one, could he do the job with that level of support?" the MP said.
Ukip MP Douglas Carswell has savaged Mr Bercow's attempt to stop Mr Trump addressing Parliament as "an absurd overreach ... student politics".
But he cautioned Brexit-backing MPs against trying to unseat the Speaker, warning it could create "Commons chaos" and increase the chance of defeat in key votes on EU withdrawal.
Writing on his blog, the Clacton MP said: "Parliament has some big Brexit battles ahead. We need to win them. So Brexiteer MPs should base everything they do in the Commons on a simple litmus test: does it benefit Brexit, or not?
"That's my perspective on the latest effort to unseat the Speaker - and why I won't support it."
Prime Minister Theresa May's deputy spokesman told a regular Westminster briefing: "The position of the Speaker is a matter for Parliament and the MPs in Parliament."
Asked if the Government would allocate time for a debate and vote on the Speaker, the spokesman said: "It's a hypothetical situation in any event, but it would be a matter for the House authorities."