Will John Bercow be missed?

The Speaker will step down by October 31

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Will John Bercow be missed?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

John Bercow has announced that he will stand down as the Speaker after 10 years by October 31 - or when the next general election is called, if it comes sooner.

MPs have paid tribute to the Speaker, praising him for allowing backbenchers to have a voice in the Commons.

However, not everyone is a fan with a government source reportedly calling him a "nauseating w----r".

The Claim

MPs have paid tribute to Bercow after the Speaker announced that he was stepping down, the Evening Standard reports.

Parliamentarians across the party divide praised the Speaker for his work over the past decade.

Jeremy Corbyn called Bercow a "superb" Speaker. The Labour leader told the Commons: "You have totally changed the way in which the job has been done. You've reached out to people across the whole country.

"This Parliament is stronger for your being Speaker. Our democracy is the stronger for your being the Speaker.

"And whatever you do when you finally step down from Parliament, you do so with the thanks of a very large number of people."

Michael Gove thanked Bercow on behalf of the Conservatives, saying that his role as "the backbenchers' backstop" has been appreciated by individuals across this House.

Gove said: "Your commitment to your principles and to your constituents is unwavering and an example to others."

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said that the Speaker had shown "considerable grace and courtesy", and thanked him for his conduct especially in the past few months.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said that casting her vote to elect Bercow as Speaker was the most important vote she has taken as an MP.

The Counterclaim

However, not everyone is a fan of Bercow's 10-year tenure as Speaker. Tories have branded him a "nauseating w----r", The Sun reports.

He is set to be the first Speaker in 230 years not to be offered a peerage when he steps down.

While Bercow choked up as he told the chamber that he was resigning as a Tory MP, they report that "there were few tears shed at No10". Johnson and his team had planned to oust the Speaker after his efforts to block Brexit.

A government source said: "Bercow thinks he’ll walk away as a hero, when most people in the country don’t know who he is and those that do think he’s a nauseating w----r.

"The man has been central to stopping Brexit - the nation won’t thank him."

The Facts

Bercow began his political career in 1986 as a Conservative councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth. In 1997, he was elected as Tory MP for Buckingham with a majority of more than 12,000.

Bercow served in various positions in opposition government. He resigned as shadow minister for work and pensions in 2002 after rebelling against a three-line whip imposed by then-Conservative leader, Iain Duncan Smith. He voted in favour of allowing unmarried gay and heterosexual couples to adopt children.

In 2009, he became the first Jewish Speaker following a long campaign - despite little support from his fellow Tory MPs. It was speculated that he received the votes of as few as three fellow Conservative MPs.

He received the support of a large number of aggrieved Labour MPs, who felt that Bercow's predecessor, Michael Martin, was "hounded out of the job".

The Speaker severs all ties with his political party and he does not vote on any motion, except in order to resolve ties. During a general election, he does not stand under a party label, but can be described on the ballot as "The Speaker seeking re-election".

He was not a traditional Speaker: he eschewed the knee breeches and tights worn by his predecessors, in favour of a business suit. Bercow allowed male MPs to speak in the chamber without wearing ties, and also ended the requirement for Commons clerks to wear wigs.

He has been praised for allowing backbench MPs to have a voice in the chamber. His predecessor hardly ever allowed Urgent Questions, while Bercow allowed several a day.

In 2017, the Speaker rejected the prospect of Donald Trump making an address to parliament during a visit to the UK. He told MPs that an address by a foreign leader is not an automatic right, but "an earned honour".

Bercow regularly clashed with the government. In 2015, when he survived an attempt by his own party to oust him. The government tabled a motion for a secret ballot to re-select a speaker when parliament returned.

A secret ballot, in theory, would have made it easier to remove him. After an emotional debate, the move was defeated by 228 votes to 202.

His Speakership has also been overshadowed by bullying allegations. A damning report in 2018 said that bullying and harassment claims were being ignored in the Commons due to a culture of "acquiescence and silence", something that he has denied.

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Evening Standard

Corbyn and Gove among those to pay tribute as Bercow quits as Speaker

MPs across the party divide have paid tribute to John Bercow after he announced he will stand down as Speaker of the House of Commons.

Mr Bercow said he will also quit as an MP on October 31 unless a general election is held before then.

In an impassioned speech, he told MPs in 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. "

The Speaker also said he has "sought to be the backbenchers' backstop".

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