#GE2017: John Bercow addresses '˜large number of spoiled ballots' in thank you speech

Returning MP John Bercow thanked voters and promised to '˜rededicate himself' to representing the Buckingham people in his acceptance speech this morning.
John Bercow at the Bucks Herald ENGPNL00120120806121454John Bercow at the Bucks Herald ENGPNL00120120806121454
John Bercow at the Bucks Herald ENGPNL00120120806121454

He said: “I would like to thank the other candidates for a very public spirited and fair manner in which they conducted their election campaigns - I think those campaigns reflect very well on them.

“Particular congratulations to Michael Sheppard (second place Green Party candidate) who scored extremely well in this election - congratulations to Scott Raven and congratulations to Brian Mapletoft as well.

“We have differed, but we have differed in an agreeable and democratic fashion.”

And Mr Bercow also addressed unrest among Buckingham voters that - because of his role of Speaker of the House of Commons - none of the major parties stand against him at the general election, and they are unable to vote for Labour, Lib Dems or Conservative options.

He said: “I would like to thank everyone who has voted for me, and everyone who has taken part in this election.

“Needless to say I rededicate myself to try to the best of my ability to represent and serve effectively the interest of all of the people of the Buckingham constituency regardless of whether or how they voted.

“I note of course the very large number of spoiled ballots, I am conscious of and sensitive to the strong feeling that exists amongst a great many people of all political persuasions that the system that operates in the Speaker’s constituency is less than ideal, and some people would characterise it must more strongly than that.

“I hope people will understand that it is not for the Speaker to change that system - but as I have said before, so I repeat - it is my commitment to report to my colleagues and in particular to the relevant committee in the House - the procedure committee - the very large number of spoiled ballot papers, expressions of discontent. And to ask my colleagues on that committee to look at the system and to assess from available options whether they think a better arrangement could be put in place.”

Mr Bercow also thanked election officials and the police, who stepped up security at election counts and polling stations around the country following the attacks in Manchester and London.