John Bercow, a Conservative MP with a strong anti-life record, has been elected Speaker of the House of Commons, following the resignation of Michael Martin over his handling of the expenses scandal. On her blog, Nadine Dorries MP quotes an exchange between Bercow and Chris McCafferty on abortion:
Bercow: I am extremely grateful to the hon. Lady for giving way and I entirely agree with her. It is a pity that the Bill is being used for that purpose although, to be fair, it is in parliamentary order. Does she agree that if people who want to reduce the upper time limit are determined to go ahead with their amendments, as they are perfectly privileged to do in parliamentary terms, those of us who favour a different modernisation and improvement of the law will take our opportunity, too? We can obtain a genuinely progressive reform, rather than the antediluvian reform that some favour.
Chris McCafferty (Calder Valley, Labour) The hon. Gentleman makes a valuable contribution to the debate. I sincerely hope that we get our opportunity to improve the legislation on behalf of women.
As Dorries comments:
John Bercow described the 190 of us, who voted in favour of reducing the upper limit, as ‘antediluvian’, which means 'before The Flood' i.e. prehistoric.
And yet, as was widely reported in both the media and reflected in various polls, the majority of doctors and the general public were right behind us.
Why is his view on this issue important? Well, part of the Speaker’s role is to select the amendments laid down by MPs to be called and voted on in the House.
Can we trust a Speaker who has such strident zealot views on such an issue to be fair, if he regards those in favour of reducing the number of abortions as prehistoric?
I think not.
We don't always agree, Nadine, but I don't think so either.