(PM) — John Bercow states he will stand down as Commons Speaker and MP at the next election or on 31 October, whichever occurs first.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr. Bercow stated his 10-year “tenure” was nearing its end and it had been the “greatest honour and privilege” to serve.
If there was no direct election, he said 31 October would be the “least disruptive and most democratic” date.
The ex-Tory MP succeeded the late Michael Martin as Speaker in 2009.
He has endured intense criticism from Brexiteers, who have disputed his neutrality on the subject of Europe and claim he has aided efforts by MPs opposed to a no-deal exit to take control of Commons business.
“Orderrr!, Orderrr!” – John Bercow – A Man for all Seasons?
by John Hepke
The 56-year old Speaker of the House of Commons, the most powerful office within Parliament, was born in the UK to Jewish parents (his mother converted to Judaism) and whose Jewish grandparents fled Romania a century ago to the UK, changing their name from Berkowitz to Bercow.
Unlike many leading UK politicians, Bercow, the son of a taxi driver, did not benefit from the privileged educational institutions of Eton, Oxford or Cambridge, but attended a local comprehensive school.
He progressed to Essex University, where he gained a first-class honors degree in Politics before embarking on his career which always involved politics of one description or another.
After a period in merchant banking, he joined a lobbying subsidiary of Saatchi & Saatchi in 1988, becoming a member of the board of directors within 5 years.
He was eventually elected as MP (Member of Parliament) for the safe Conservative seat of Buckingham in 1997, subsequently holding a number of Cabinet & Shadow Cabinet positions, before becoming Speaker in 2009.
He then became a Member of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council in 2009, thereby receiving the titled address of ‘The Right Honorable John Bercow’.
Though a lifelong Conservative, in 2005 it was rumored he was about to defect to the Labour Party, though in the end, he remained a Tory member.
His statuesque wife, Sally (who is 5’11”) and he have three children. John Bercow is 5’6” tall and has previously complained about being ribbed about his height.
Sally, who was in the public gallery during Bercow’s resignation announcement in the Commons, was previously a Labour Party supporter and swapped allegiances after their own personal alliance.
Although the Speaker remains an elected MP, the role is a politically impartial one, though as Porter Medium’s Andrew Childers cited (above) his role has become increasingly controversial, particular with regard to his stance on Brexit and the tumultuous Brexit-related debates of recent times.
Only yesterday, the Conservative Party announced it would stand a rival Conservative candidate in Bercow’s Buckinghamshire seat in the next General Election (whenever that is), in an effort to oust him as Speaker, such is their disdain for him allowing the so-called ‘Anti-Brexit Bill’ to be heard last week, and which gained Royal Assent today from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, thereby becoming law.
His supposedly impartial role has been microscopically scrutinized, particularly by Brexiteers and, as chief political editor for the BBC Laura Kuenssberg Tweeted a little earlier;
Bercow has also been accused of ‘serious bullying’ of staff members, an accusation which he always strenuously denied, and which are still under investigation.
Whether you love him or loathe him, John Bercow has been a strident advocate of Parliamentary procedure and has brought transparency to his role like no other; that subject is a topic in itself.
A most eloquent and entertaining speaker who has kept the unruly classes on the British Parliament benches in check for a decade, unsurprisingly there are numerous filmed clips of him available on most social media. Here’s just one worth watching;