MP for Buckingham John Bercow now says he wants to remain as Speaker

The long-running saga of when Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow will stand down has had another chapter added to it.

By Sam Dean
Thursday, 30th May 2019, 11:22 am
Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow
Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow

The long-running saga of when Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow will stand down has had another chapter added to it.

The ever-changing end date will now be: Not now!

It was reported by the Guardian on Tuesday that Mr Bercow had said it was not “sensible to vacate the chair” during “momentous events.”

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Back in October 2018, following calls for his resignation in the wake of the Cox Report into an alleged culture of bullying and harassment at Westminster that heavily criticised senior management, it was widely reported that Mr Bercow had told friends he planned to go in July this year.

His response was barely a denial: “The Speaker has made no announcement about his leaving date. In the event he has anything to say on his future plans, he will make an announcement to the House first.”

This statement also looks odd in light of two prior comments the MP for Buckingham has made regarding his leaving date.

Famously, when taking the role on 22 June 2009 he said he would serve for nine years, meaning he would stand down on 22 June 2018.

In May 2017, after the General Election, he said that he would serve the full term of parliament, taking him up to 2022.

A spokesperson for the Speaker confirmed as much to this paper, saying:

“Mr Bercow is as determined as ever to fulfil, to the best of his ability, his responsibilities in Buckingham - and in Westminster - following his re-election in June last year.”

Mr Bercow has rarely been out of the headlines over the past year.

In May 2018 the Speaker was the subject of multiple bullying and sexism allegations, including smashing his phone during a meeting with his then private secretary Angus Sinclair, being called “intimidating, unreasonable, and disproportionate” by ex-Black Rod David Leakey, and accused of calling the until recently Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom “a stupid woman.”

The release of the Dame Laura Cox report into an alleged culture of bullying at Westminster also appeared damning for Mr Bercow. It read:

“The inescapable conclusion from the views expressed during this inquiry is that it will be extremely difficult to build confidence that there will be fundamental change when the levers of change are regarded as part of the change that is needed.”

In March this year he was back in the news after saying he would invoke a 400-year-old rule to block a third vote in parliament on Theresa May’s EU Withdrawal Bill unless substantial changes were evident, although in the end the vote did go ahead.

John Bercow, who is already the longest serving Speaker of the House since the Second World War, was asked for comment on the latest reports but did not respond.