British Press Awards political journalist Quentin Letts mourned the exit of Commons Speaker Michael Martin earlier this year, after previously describing him as the “sketchwriter’s muse”, adding: “He’s absolutely useless at his job and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Now John Bercow looks set to amply fill Martin’s shoes after appointing former Times journalist Tim Hames as his spin doctor on a salary of up to £107,000.
Letts writes in today’s Daily Mail “This is amazing, unwelcome news – damaging not only to silly Mr Bercow, but also to the Speakership itself.
“Explaining his hiring, Mr Bercow, through some Press mouthpiece (another public hire), said yesterday that he is engaging Mr Hames to help him formulate his policy on parliamentary reforms…
“Speaker’s House in the old days left one in no doubt as to its desire to remain unmottled by the controversies of the day.
“It is hard to equate that admirable aim with the appointment of Mr Hames, who as a Times columnist inveighed frequently against the Conservative Party while cheering loudly for New Labour.”