John Bercow announces he is standing down as Speaker after Tory election threats - USA DAILY NEWS

John Bercow announces he is standing down as Speaker after Tory election threats

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A tearful John Bercow has announced he will stand down as Speaker with a warning about the risks of “degrading Parliament”.

In a statement in the House of Commons, Mr Bercow said if MPs voted for an election later tonight he would stand down when the election is called.

If they did not, he announced he would stand down on October 31 – the date Britain is supposed to leave the EU.

Through tears Mr Bercow described himself as the “backbenchers’ backstop” as he paid tribute to his wife, Sally Bercow.

Addressing the Commons while his wife looked on from the gallery, Mr Bercow said: “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.



Mr Bercow teared up as he made the announcement

“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.”

Mr Bercow said he had picked the time for his departure so that new MPs elected after a potential future election could not be bullied by party whips into selecting a less assertive replacement.

Opposition and Tory Rebel MPs gave Mr Bercow a standing ovation when he finished his statement.

But Tories remained glued to their seats – a final show of defiance to a Speaker they have clashed with repeatedly.



The speaker made the announcement in the chamber

 

Mr Bercow added that he could not have served as Speaker without the support of MPs.

He said: “I could also not have served without the support of this House and its members, past and present.”

Mr Bercow added: “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.”

Mr Bercow concluded: “This has been, let me put it explicitly, the greatest privilege and honour of my professional life for which I will be eternally grateful.

“I wish my successor in the chair the very best fortune in standing up for the rights of honourable and right honourable members individually and for Parliament institutionally as the Speaker of the House of Commons.”



The standing ovation was mixed but MPs were all soon paying tribute

 

Mr Bercow’s speech was greeted with sustained 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 Mr Bercow for being a “superb” Speaker.

He told the Commons: “In your role as Speaker you have totally changed the way in which the job has been done. You’ve reached out to people across the whole country.”

Mr Corbyn added: “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.”

Mr Corbyn offered his thanks on behalf of the Labour Party, noting: “Enjoy the last short period in your office but it’s going to be one of the most dramatic there has been.

“I think your choice of timing and dates is incomparable and will be recorded in the history books of parliamentary democracy.”



John Bercow paid tribute to his wife Sally in his resignation

 

Mr Bercow’s announcement came after furious Tories announced they would break convention and stand a candidate against Commons Speaker John Bercow at the next general election.

The Business Secretary Anderea Leadsom revealed the move, as she stepped up her feud with Mr Bercow, accusing him of breaking the rules of Parliament by allowing MPs to take control of Commons business.

In a stinging attack, Ms Leadsom said Mr Bercow had “failed” in his role and had permitted a “flagrant abuse” of parliamentary process.

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Brexit news and Brexit explained

Before becoming Speaker ten years ago, Mr Bercow was the Tory MP for Buckingham with a majority of more than 18,000.

Mr Bercow has been a controversial speaker.

Some Brexit supporting MPs have accused him of bending the rules of Parliament to allow Remain supporting colleagues to block Brexit.

He was also embroiled in allegations that he had bullied staff in the House of Commons.

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