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MP asks that ministers are given free vote in any move to topple John Bercow

A Tory MP has written to Theresa May requesting that ministers are given a free vote in any potential vote designed to topple House of Commons Speaker John Bercow.

Former minister James Duddridge wrote to the Prime Minister asking for ministers, usually bound by collective Government responsibility, to be given free rein in any vote of no confidence in Mr Bercow.

It comes after the Speaker faced calls to consider his position after he said United States president Donald Trump should not be allowed to address Parliament on his state visit to Britain later this year.

In his letter to the PM, Mr Duddridge said: "Could you confirm that if there is a vote of no confidence in the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Government will not intervene and will give ministers a free vote."

On Monday in the Commons, Mr Bercow appeared to brand the US president "racist" and "sexist" and said Mr Trump's travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries meant he was "even more strongly" opposed to an invitation.

He was applauded by some MPs on making the intervention but some Tories were unhappy, including Iraq-born Nadhim Zahawi who branded him a hypocrite and said he should "think about" his position.

Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Crispin Blunt questioned whether Mr Bercow was sticking to his duty to be impartial.

The remarks also caused a clash with Lords Speaker Lord Fowler, who vowed to keep an "open mind" about Mr Trump addressing Parliament.

But Mr Bercow on Tuesday defended his comments, telling MPs he was acting "honestly and honourably" in carrying out his responsibilities.

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