Commons Speaker John Bercow to stand down

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has announced he will stand down. Getty Images
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has announced he will stand down. Getty Images
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Commons Speaker John Bercow has announced that he will stand down as an MP at the next general election.

Mr Bercow, in an impassioned speech, told MPs he would stand down as speaker on October 31 unless an election is called before then.

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.

"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.

Labour MP Darren Jones has described John Bercow as "a champion of parliamentary sovereignty" after the Commons Speaker announced he was to stand down as an MP at the next general election.

"John Bercow has been a champion of parliamentary sovereignty and a champion for backbenchers like me being able to hold the executive to account," Mr Jones tweeted. "He'll be missed by many of us in the @HouseofCommons. The next Speaker has big shoes to fill."

For the Government, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said it was clear Mr Bercow loved the House of Commons and democracy, adding: "Your commitment to your principles and to your constituents is unwavering and an example to others."

Mr Gove joked he hoped Mr Bercow would not take it personally when he votes for an early general election, adding: "It is the case that however controversial the role of the backstop may be in other areas, your role as the backbenchers' backstop has certainly been one that's been appreciated by individuals across this House."

He added he has "never been in any doubt" about Mr Bercow's desire to operate on the basis that the executive must be answerable to the Commons in the same way as the House is answerable to the people.

Mr Gove went on: "You have done everything in your power in order to ensure not just the continued but the underlined relevance of this place.

"Your love of democracy is transparent in everything that you say and do.

"I want to, on behalf of myself as an individual and on the behalf of the Conservative Party, to say thank you."