UK

John Bercow set for last day in Commons Speaker’s chair

John Bercow in the House of Commons Image copyright JESSICA TAYLOR

John Bercow is set to shout “order order” for the last time in the House of Commons as his 10-year reign as Speaker comes to an end.

He will preside over business in the chamber one final time.

Mr Bercow, who is standing down as MP for Buckingham, has been a contentious figure, with some MPs questioning his impartiality when it comes to Brexit.

But paying tribute on Wednesday, Boris Johnson said he had been an innovator and a “great servant” of the House.

The prime minister compared Mr Bercow – who is a huge tennis fan – to an interventionist umpire who had “peppered” the Commons with often “unreturnable volleys and smashes”.

During Mr Bercow’s final Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also praised the Speaker’s efforts to modernise the Commons and the role he had played in promoting parliamentary democracy abroad.

Mr Bercow’s successor is due to be elected on Monday but is only likely to have a day in the chair before Parliament is dissolved ahead of the 12 December election.

The Speaker is always selected from the ranks of MPs but the convention – only occasionally broken by some parties – is that he or she stands unopposed in general elections.

Image copyright PA Media
Image copyright PA Media
Image copyright PA Media

Mr Bercow announced his intention to stand down in September.

The 56 year-old’s exit was due to have coincided with the day the UK left the EU but Brexit has since been delayed until 31 January.

Mr Bercow served as a Conservative MP for 12 years before being elected as Speaker in 2009.

During his decade in the role, he has issued the Speaker’s trademark “order, order” instruction to MPs around 14,000 times.

He has given unprecedented powers to backbenchers to hold ministers to account and made controversial and far-reaching procedural decisions at key stages of the Brexit process.

However, his period in charge of the House of Commons also saw several revelations of parliamentary staff reporting allegations of bullying and harassment by MPs and other senior figures, including Mr Bercow himself – which he always denied.

Mr Bercow’s duties on his final day will include chairing questions to the environment secretary and overseeing a government statement on future Commons business.

There will also be a short session in which MPs will pay tribute to the Speaker’s Chaplain, Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who is also standing down.

All previous Speakers have automatically been given peerages upon their retirement and sat in the House of Lords.

It has also been reported Mr Bercow will be in demand on the lecture circuit.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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