I was slightly stumped by this question yesterday. I had tweeted asking people to take 2 minutes to write to their MP to encourage them to attend the financial education debate in the Commons this Thursday, on the back of the e-petition hitting 100,000 signatures.
This was one of the first replies I received and it got me thinking. For those who don’t know, the Speaker of the House of Commons is currently John Bercow, who is the presiding officer of the chamber, and a sitting MP. By convention the role is non-partisan and the Speaker never votes or takes sides in any debates.
While of course this is a good idea for the man having to referee our heavily adversarial system – where does it leave constituents? They have a Member of Parliament they can’t lobby or push to engage in politics, effectively disenfranchising them from big political activity. Of course I suspect he still acts as a constituency MP dealing with individual issues, but not political ones.
While I love the history of our Parliament and the long established traditions, this is one of the areas where I think the anachronistic system needs a bit of tweaking. I often wonder what it must be like to live in a sitting PM’s constituency too – does he still do weekly surgeries? Or do you effectively lose a constituency MP?
I’d be interested in your thoughts.