John Bercow to step down as Speaker by October 31
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John Bercow to step down as Speaker by October 31

The Speaker's speech was greeted with applause from MPs in the chamber

Speaker John Bercow revealed he will stand down during an an impassioned speech. (Photo credit: House of Commons/PA Wire)
Speaker John Bercow revealed he will stand down during an an impassioned speech. (Photo credit: House of Commons/PA Wire)

John Bercow announced in an emotional speech he would step down as Speaker by October 31 at the latest.

The Jewish Buckingham MP told the Commons: “At the 2017 election, I promised my wife and children that it would be my last.

“This is a pledge that 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.”

Speaking while his wife Sally watched from the gallery, Bercow said he has “sought to be the backbenchers’ backstop.”

“I could not serve this House without a small but superb team in the Speaker’s House, my wife Sally and my three children Oliver, Freddie and Jemima,” he added.

He added: “From the bottom of my heart, I thank them all profusely.”

He told the Commons: “This is a wonderful place filled overwhelmingly by people who are motivated by their notion of the national interest, by their perception of the public good and by their duty, not as delegates, but as representatives, to do what they believe is right for our country.”

He continued: “We degrade this Parliament at our peril.”

Bercow’s speech was greeted with applause from MPs in the chamber. Opposition MPs rose to their feet as did some former Tory MPs, notably those opposing a no-deal Brexit.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn praised Bercow for being a “superb” Speaker, adding: “I think your choice of timing and dates is incomparable and will be recorded in the history books of parliamentary democracy.”

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