An update on the clerks

No winner has yet emerged from the interview process for a new Clerk of the Commons.

I gather a third round of interviews will now be held on July 30, for the three remaining candidates surviving from the original shortlist of eight.

Quite a lot of clerkly noses are - apparently - out of joint, because very few of the senior clerks made it into the shortlist - and I'm told only the in-house front-runner, Clerk-Assistant David Natzler, has made it into the final three.

The interview panel included Andrew Lansley as Leader of the House - and I suppose he will now be replaced by William Hague, who will, thereby, be plunged into some pretty intensive internal Commons politics.

UPDATE: I'm now hearing that the composition of the panel can't be changed, so Andrew Lansley will see out the selection process, rather than have Mr Hague take his place half way through.

Mr Speaker has been pushing very hard for an outside candidate, with a view to shaking up the internal hierarchy of the Commons - to the point where he was giving other panel members the benefit of his experience of the internal candidates.

I'm told that he is supported in that aim by the Shadow Leader Angela Eagle and the formidable Margaret Hodge.

The other members of the panel are Lib Dem John Thurso and the Parliamentary Ombudsman Dame Julie Mellor - so there is at least the possibility of a 3-3 split in the panel.

The Clerk is a royal appointment, made on the advice of the Prime Minister, who, in turn, takes the advice of the House authorities.

Quite what David Cameron does if his Leader of the House doesn't like the process, or if a recommendation emerges, without a cross party consensus behind it, is an interesting question.

But what is normally a congenial cross-party process seems to have become something quite different, this time.