LONDON: John Bercow said he would not stand again if MPs vote in favour of an early general election — and if they do not, as seems likely, he would resign on October 31: the scheduled date for Brexit.
John Bercow, the speaker of Britain’s House of Commons, announced Monday that he would resign within weeks, amid criticism by Brexit hardliners who say he has twisted parliamentary rules to undermine them.
Bercow said he wouldn’t stand again if MPs vote later Monday in favour of an early general election — and if they do not, as seems likely, he would resign on October 31: the scheduled date for Brexit.
Bercow has served as speaker of parliament’s lower chamber for a decade, overseeing heated debates on Brexit and making decisions about what the home should do, based on centuries of precedent.
“If the house does not so vote, I’ve concluded that the least disruptive and most democratic strategy would be for me to stand down at the end of business on Thursday, October 31.”
Bercow is famous for presiding over debates, bellowing”Order! Order!”
He has sought to modernise parliament, abandoning the speaker’s traditional robes for a very simple dress over a suit, and seeking to make it easier for female MPs with new babies.
But critics say he is pompous, biased in favour of anti-Brexit MPs, and overly fond of the sound of his own voice.
Bercow said the timing of his departure would mean that MPs would have some familiarity with the candidates to replace him.
He also said it would be better than after a general election, when new MPs may encounter party influence in their selection of the next speaker.
“I have sought to increase the relative authority of the legislature, for which I will make absolutely no apology,” Bercow told MPs.
“This is a wonderful place filled overwhelmingly by people that are motivated by their own notion of the national interest, by their understanding of the public good, and by their duty, not as delegates, but as representatives to do what they believe is right for our country.
“We degrade this parliament at our peril.”