MP John Bercow bows out: "It is with a heavy heart that I step down as MP for this great constituency"
MP for Buckingham John Bercow will hand over his role as Speaker of the House of Commons on Thursday, and will not contest his Buckingham seat at the next general election.
Mr Bercow has been MP for the Buckingham constituency since 1997, and is a familiar face in the area, regularly attending local events.
From presenting the 'Bercow Bowl' prize at annual Town Vs Gown charity quiz event, to school visits and charity tennis matches, it is fair to say Mr Bercow has always got stuck in to his role in his constituency, as well as his role as Speaker.
He has also been vocal about local issues, including recently visiting HS2 campaigners to see how works would have a detrimental impact in Steeple Claydon and Calvert.
Mr Bercow originally became MP as a Conservative candidate, but since becoming Speaker in 2009, he has not represented a political party, and none of the major political parties have contested him at general elections because of the Speaker's convention. This has frustrated some in his constituency, and Mr Bercow addressed the issue at the last general election saying that he would raise concerns at Westminster.
Speaking to this newspaper on Tuesday Mr Bercow said: "I will never forget the night I became Buckingham’s Member of Parliament – not only because it heralded the start of my political career, but also because I had been elected to represent one of the most attractive constituencies in the country.
"While geographically it is rather large and predominantly rural, it soon became clear to me how I had been blessed with some of the friendliest, most public spirited and inspiring constituents. The sense of community between the towns and villages I have visited over the last 22 years is tangible.
"Whether it be arguing the case against HS2 - which I have since the day it was announced in March 2010 - to supporting local charities, visiting every school and seeking to get the best help for those living with cancer, dementia, MS, diabetes and other conditions, none of the successes we have achieved could have been done without the backing of the best of beautiful Buckingham.
"It is with a heavy heart that I step down as MP for this great constituency and as Speaker of the House of Commons. But I know whoever succeeds me as local MP will soon find themselves brought into Buckingham’s fold – and will feel the warm embrace it so willingly offered to me two decades ago. I can only wish him or her every success."
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