Westminster Times
Westminster Times (Reuters)

The feud between Prime Minister David Cameron and the most powerful man in parliament, Speaker John Bercow, has reached new depths of bitterness.

Things have got so bad that Tory MPs are feverishly seeking ways of ousting Bercow from the job as soon as possible. They will have little luck as there is no mechanism for removing a reluctant, sitting Speaker.

But it now looks certain that Bercow will face the potential humiliation of being forced to stand down immediately after the next election rather than being elected for another term in office and then retiring with dignity half way through the next parliament, as has been past tradition.

Although Bercow was a Tory MP before being elected to preside over Commons business, he was not supported for the job by Conservative MPs who believed his sympathies had drifted towards Labour.

It was largely through the votes of Labour MPs that he got the job in 2009 after the unprecedented resignation of Speaker Michael Martin in the wake of the expenses scandal.

But since then, the anger towards him on the government benches has intensified and came to a fresh head during the last session of Prime Minister's Questions when he once again interrupted Cameron just as he was making a vital political point.

He then went on to deliver a rebuke to the Prime Minister for failing to answer questions put to him.

Even some Labour MPs are now becoming uncomfortable with the apparent favouritism being shown to their side.

But it is Tory MPs who, given the chance, would have him out. What they are now considering is that, when he seeks re-election after the next general election, instead of voting him through on the nod, they hope to gather enough support to ensure he would fail. That, of course, is assuming there are enough Tories in the Commons after 2015.

It would cause a bit of a crisis as Commons proceedings cannot start until a Speaker has been elected. But they think that might be a price worth paying.

Once Bercow gets wind of the plot, things could get even more bruising in the Commons chamber.

Council Palace

Labour's London housing spokesman Tom Copley found himself in hot water after joking about turning Buckingham palace into council flats to help the capital's homeless.

Copley is not known for his love of royalty but he has to go a bit to compete with some of the more fervent anti-royalists, one of which (who for obvious reasons wishes to remain anonymous) claimed Buckingham Palace already is a council house - it is paid for by the state and houses a large family who live off public money and don't have proper jobs


Carry on Commons

Conservative party Vice-Chairman Michael Fabricant is known as one of Westminster's more, er, flamboyant characters.

But he may have overstepped the mark with his latest tweet which declares: "Yesterday I jokingly said to an armed PC in the House of Commons 'can I play with your Glock' (hand gun). He glared. I think he misheard."

Really, is that quite appropriate for a vice chairman.

Not so High Speed

There is a new phrase that has entered the long list of things ministers are not allowed to say any more. Remember the poll tax (correct phrase the community charge) and the bedroom tax (correct phrase the spare room subsidy - removal of).

Now it is high speed rail link. The correct phrase to describe the £50bn planned line between London and the north is "the north south link".

David Cameron has decided that one of the reasons he has so far failed to win over the sceptics about the need for the link is because his government have spent all their time emphasising the fact it might slash 20 minutes off the journey time between London and Birmingham - that is without delays, cancellations and leaves on the line presumably.

Now the project is to be trumpeted as part of the government's attempts to unify the nation, bringing north and south closer together for the benefit of the entire UK etc., etc.

Any minister who in future refers to it as the high speed rail link might suddenly find themselves helping build it. But will all the publicity for HS2 have to be relabelled NSL which, coincidentally, in the Department of Transport also stands for the National Speed Limit - which only ever seems to go down.

Historic loss

David Cameron's brother, Alex Cameron QC, made his own little bit of history last week when he became the first barrister to be seen on the newly-televised proceedings of the Court of Appeal.

He was acting for a man appealing against a seven year jail sentence for his role in what is thought to be the biggest ever plot to make fake pound coins.

He lost.