Not him again! Bercow now says he wants five more years as Speaker
JoHN Bercow was last night branded ‘a disgrace’ and a ‘self-serving parasite’ after he declared that he wants to remain Commons Speaker until 2022 – going back on a promise to stand down next year.
When elected Speaker in 2009, the controversial figure pledged to serve for nine years, but yesterday he revealed he plans to cling on for the next five years.
Tory MPs, who have long complained about his bias, last night pledged to mount a challenge to oust him when Parliament returns.
Mr Bercow, who is campaigning to be reelected as MP for Buckinghamshire, told Sky News that he was entitled to change his mind just as Theresa May had gone back on a promise not to call a snap election.
‘I had originally indicated an intention to serve for approximately nine years,’ he said.
‘If I may legitimately say so, I made that commitment eight years ago, it was before the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, it was before the EU referendum.
‘We’re in a very different situation… The Prime Minister, very properly, is entitled change her view about whether the national interest would be served by an earlier election rather than a later one. I made no criticism or complaint about that whatsoever. So if people are entitled to change their minds over a relatively short period of time I think I’m entitled to take a somewhat different view now to the one I took back in 2009.’
If Mr Bercow serves a full five-year term it would make him the longest serving speaker since Edward Fitzroy, who held the office for 15 years from 1928 to 1943.
A group of Tory MPs attempted to remove Mr Bercow earlier this year after he unilaterally banned Donald Trump speaking to Parliament when the US president visits the UK for his planned state visit, but they failed to get enough support from colleagues.
Mr Bercow has repeatedly faced accusations that he has failed in his duty of impartiality, including earlier this year when he boasted of backing Remain in the EU referendum. His Labour deputy Lindsay Hoyle is the favourite to take over the Commons chair, but faces a battle to hold on to his Chorley seat.
Andrew Bridgen, who is seeking re-election as Tory MP for North West Leicestershire, last night pledged to lead a challenge to Mr Bercow’s re-appointment. ‘He can stand, but it will be a decision for the new Parliament not John Bercow,’ he said. James Duddridge, who led the attempt to get rid of Mr Bercow earlier this year and is seeking re-election as Tory MP for Rochford and Southend East, said: ‘He said he would only serve until June 22, 2018, he has broken his manifesto promise to go at this date.
‘He is a disgrace and should not be reelected as Speaker if he is returned as an MP. He is a self- serving parasite of the worst order.’
Backlash: The Commons Speaker