UK Politics

David Natzler appointed new Commons clerk

John Bercow Image copyright PA
Image caption John Bercow wants to modernise the way the House of Commons is run

David Natzler has been named as the next Clerk of the Commons, ending a controversial process which pitted Speaker John Bercow against some MPs.

Mr Natzler has served as acting Clerk since the retirement of Sir Robert Rogers last year.

A panel led by Mr Bercow initially recommended that Australian Carole Mills take the role but MPs objected and she has since withdrawn.

News of Mr Natzler's appointment was met with cheers by MPs in the Commons.

The recruitment of a new Clerk, Parliament's most senior legal and constitutional adviser, has been dogged by argument over the past nine months.

'Well deserved'

MPs said Ms Mills, the original choice of the House of Commons commission who works in the Australian Parliament, did not have the relevant constitutional experience and accused Mr Bercow of a "stitch-up".

Mr Bercow insisted that the appointment must have the confidence of MPs and "paused" the recruitment process before re-starting it.

As part of a modernisation of procedures, the current responsibilities of the Clerk will now be split, with a new post of Commons director-general taking over responsibility for the day-to-day commercial and administrative functions of the Commons.

Announcing Mr Natzler's appointment in the Commons, Mr Bercow said he had been chosen from a field of four candidates.

Welcoming the appointment, David Cameron joked that Mr Bercow had "gone to the ends of the earth" to find the most qualified candidate and he was "very glad he found the right answer right here in Britain".

Labour leader Ed Miliband said Mr Natzler's appointment was "well deserved".

Before Sir Robert's retirement, Mr Natzler served as Clerk Assistant for many years.

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