Will John Bercow stay on as Speaker and does he have a say on Brexit?

Will John Bercow stay on as Speaker and does he have a say on Brexit?

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JOHN Bercow held the position of Speaker of the House of Commons since 2009.

But the MP for Buckingham hast threatened to resign as Speaker and as MP if MPs vote for a general election.

John Bercow sensationally resigned as the speaker for the House of Commons
John Bercow sensationally resigned as the speaker for the House of Commons
AFP or licensors

Who is John Bercow?

John Bercow, 56, grew up in Finchley, North London, where his local MP was Margaret Thatcher.

He was a youth tennis champion once ranked number one in Britain, but his asthma and short stature stopped him pursuing a professional career.

As a student activist in the far-right Monday Club, Bercow was in favour of a programme of “assisted repatriation” of immigrants.

He has since distanced himself from the organisation and dismissed his views at the time as “bone headed”.

Bercow worked in banking and lobbying and ran a speaking and campaigning course that trained future Tory MPs.

He was elected as a Conservative councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth in 1986.

Eleven years later he secured the safe Tory seat of Buckingham, which he has represented since.

He quit Iain Duncan Smith‘s shadow cabinet after defying a three-line whip over allowing gay couples to adopt children.

As a Tory backbencher he openly praised Labour PM Tony Blair while criticising his own leader.

He later rejoined the front bench but was sacked by Michael Howard after clashes over tax, immigration and Iraq.

Bercow has said his political views moved to the centre in the early 2000s and he has championed causes such as gay rights.

He married Sally Illman in 2002 and they have three children.

Former Tory activist Sally, now 49, appeared in Celebrity Big Brother and stood as a Labour council candidate.

In May 2015 it emerged Sally had a year-long affair with Bercow’s cousin Alan.

They patched up their marriage and remain together.

In 2017, we reported the couple’s love life could suffer from the silencing of Big Ben as Sally finds the bongs a turn-on in their apartment beside the clock tower.

2015 Stephen Lock / i-Images

John and Sally Bercow live next to the clock tower in the Houses of Parliament[/caption]

When will Bercow quit?

On September 9, Bercow told the chamber he will quit as a Tory MP if Boris Johnson gets a national poll.

However, if they do not back the vote Bercow said he will resign on October 31 – the Brexit deadline.

He would also quit as Speaker.

Bercow told the chamber: “At the 2017 election I promised my wife and children that it would be my last.

“This is a pledge I intend to keep if the house votes tonight for an early general election my tenure as Speaker and MP will end when this Parliament ends.

“If the house does not so vote I have concluded that the least disruptive and most democratic course of action would be for me to stand down at the close of business on Thursday October 31.”

Speaker John Bercow said it was an outrage that MPs would be stopped from sitting
PA:Press Association

How long has John Bercow been Speaker?

Bercow was elected the 157th Speaker in June 2009 following the resignation of Michael Martin in the wake of the MPs expenses scandal.

He has had no one from the major parties challenge him in his seat since he came into the role.

Bercow is the first Jewish Speaker, and the only one not to wear traditional court robes while presiding over the House.

He has also ditched clerks’ wigs and said MPs do not need to wear a tie, upsetting many traditionalists.

Many Conservatives claimed the Speaker was biased against them and Bercow repeatedly clashed with PM David Cameron.

A Tory plot to oust him days before the 2015 general election failed and he was re-elected unopposed in the new Parliament.

Bercow was re-elected again in June 2017 after the snap General Election.

Boris could call an election if MPs wreck his Brexit plans
Boris could call an election if MPs wreck his Brexit plans
Getty – Pool

Tory MPs plot to remove Bercow

Furious Tory MPs are said to be plotting to revive their attempts to remove Bercow.

They are furious that he appears to have taken sides in the row over the decision to ask the Queen to suspend Parliament.

Mr Bercow interrupted his luxury holiday in a four-star hotel in Turkey to issue a statement branding the move a “constitutional outrage”.

He said: “However it is dressed up, it is blindingly obvious that the purpose of prorogation now would be to stop Parliament debating Brexit and performing its duty in shaping a course for the country.”

Mr Bercow also accused the PM of undermining his democratic credentials.

Tory MP Sir Mike Penning said: “This time he has completely overstepped the mark. The best Speakers are good referees who facilitate debate. It is not the role of the Speaker to make pronouncements like this.

“If he wants to make these sorts of comments, then he should come back to the back benches, rather than abuse the office of Speaker.”

David TC Davies told the Mail on Sunday: “The reality is now that the gloves are off. Remain-supporting MPs – including Mr Bercow – are using every trick in the book and tearing up all precedence to try to prevent the democratic voice of the public from being heard on Brexit.

“We have to fight this battle in the same way. If that means breaking the precedent of not standing against the Speaker in his constituency at the next General Election, then so be it.”

He called on Tory Party chairman James Cleverly to field an official Tory candidate against Mr Bercow.

And he said the “Remain supporting Speaker is not acting in an impartial fashion” and is “following his own instinct”.

Is he a Remainer?

The Speaker of the House of Commons is supposed to remain impartial, sitting as a non-partisan figure.

But Mr Bercow has often been accused of being completely anti-Brexit.

Speaking to students from Reading University in February 2017, the Sunday Telegraph reported that he said: “Personally, I voted to Remain.

“I thought it was better to stay in the European Union than not.”

He has broken with convention to give Europhile MPs the chance to pass wrecking amendments which undermine Theresa May.

In February 2019, the Speaker dined with Ken Clarke, the former Chancellor, at the Kennington Tandoori near Parliament on Wednesday night.

Brexiteer Andrew Bridgen stormed: “It appears that the Speaker is conspiring with Remainer MPs to stop Brexit and subvert democracy.

“The Poppadom Plot is part of the Remainer elites trying to overturn the democratic will of the British people.”

On March 18, 2019, Bercow controversially ruled out a third vote on the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement because it was not substantially different from the previous iterations.

In May 2019, he said he would stay on as Speaker past July and threatened to block a No Deal Brexit.

The Conservative MP said it was “not sensible to vacate the chair” while Brexit remained unresolved.

He told the Guardian: “I’ve never said anything about going in July of this year. Secondly, I do feel that now is a time in which momentous events are taking place and there are great issues to be resolved and in those circumstances, it doesn’t seem to me sensible to vacate the chair.”

He added there was “no inevitability” about a No Deal Brexit and dismissed the suggestion that MPs had lost their chance to block No Deal once and for all.

Biased in Parliament?

Tory Brexiteers have repeatedly slammed the Speaker for being biased in favour of pro-Remainers in Parliament.

He overruled officials earlier this year to allow a vote on a Brexit Plan B in the Commons, which ripped up years of precedent.

MPs are set up for a huge battle in Parliament as pro-Remain MPs try and block a No Deal Brexit with a new law.

Speaker Bercow has been in talks with some of the plotters – including Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin.

But they are yet to reveal their full plans, to try and keep Boris in the dark for as long as possible.

It’s thought they will bring forward a new law to force the PM to seek an extension to Article 50 with the EU.

But there’s a risk that he could just ignore it, or veto the EU decision.

Other ideas are passing a law saying that Britain can’t leave the EU without a deal in place.


And Boris is poised to trigger an election himself if Remainers succeed in bringing his plans to a half, The Sun on Sunday revealed on September 1.

Allies of the Speaker branded the plot “absurd” and claimed the Government was trying to smear him ahead of a huge battle foor Brexit this week.

A spokesperson for the Speaker said he would tell the Commons “in the event he has anything to say on his future plans”.

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