John Bercow to stay on as Commons Speaker

John Bercow has said he plans to stay on as Speaker

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

John Bercow has pledged to stay on as Commons Speaker, despite speculation he would be standing down this summer.

The MP for Buckingham has spent 10 years in the post, and said it was not "sensible to vacate the chair" while there are "momentous events" taking place and "great issues" to be resolved.

There were calls for Mr Bercow to leave after allegations of bullying emerged, and the Speaker reportedly told friends he intended to quit this year.

However, in an interview with the Guardian, he dismissed rumours that he was leaving.

"I've never said anything about going in July of this year," he said.

"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.

"If I had any intention to announce on that matter... I would do so to Parliament first."

The news has divided MPs, as it is likely the politician will remain in post until Brexit has been delivered.

Brexiteer Mark Francois questioned Mr Bercow's ability to be a neutral umpire in the Commons, saying: "If you are going to stay on in these momentous times that's fair enough, but it is important that all the players on the pitch retain confidence in the objectivity of the referee until the end of the match."

And Conservative former cabinet minister Maria Miller said "no MP" should allow Mr Bercow to continue in his post.

The chairwoman of the Women and Equalities Select Committee said: "The Cox Report was clear that the House of Commons needs a wholesale change in leadership to address an unacceptable culture of bullying and harassment.

"The Cox report specifically includes the Speaker in that recommendation, the most senior person in the House of Commons. No MP should stand by and allow the Speaker to continue in his post."

However Mr Bercow has won support from some Labour figures, including Barry Sheerman who said he was "delighted" to learn Mr Bercow had decided to "do his duty" and "see us through these troubled times".

Shadow minister Steve Reed tweeted: "Speaker Bercow is quite right to stay on until the Brexit crisis is over, Parliament and the country needs his experience."

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