John Bercow's 7 most controversial moments as Commons Speaker

John Bercow has announced he will stand down as Speaker of the House of Commons after more than 10 years.

John Bercow has not shied away from controversy during his tenure as Commons Speaker. PA
John Bercow has not shied away from controversy during his tenure as Commons Speaker. PA

His emotional speech on Monday characterised his colourful time in the role. Here, we look at some of his more controversial moments.

Hunting Ban

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Mr Bercow risked angering Tory MPs by revealing he was a supporter of the hunting ban to one of his constituents.

When a 'Bollocks to Brexit' sticker was spotted in the Speaker's car it was met with a backlash from Brexiteers like Andrea Leadsom MP. PA

The Speaker said he agreed hunting foxes to kill them was "wrong in the 21st century" amid calls for the ban to be repealed in 2011.

Sex Life

Mr Bercow's wife was thrown into the spotlight when she posed for London's Evening Standard wearing nothing but a bed sheet.

Sally Bercow described the "aphrodisiac" effect of their life at the Palace of Westminster and described the view from the Speaker's House as "incredibly sexy".

But in 2015 she said he hated living in Parliament, describing it as a "goldfish bowl" amid reports of trouble in the couple's marriage when she admitted being a "terrible wife".

£37,000 Portrait

Mr Bercow's use of expenses has also raised eyebrows - particularly as he took office at the height of the scandal over Westminster perks.

He racked up a £172 bill being chauffeur-driven to a conference just 0.7 miles from Parliament.

He also spent £367 taking a car to Luton to deliver a speech on how MPs were restoring their reputation after the expenses scandal.

Mr Bercow spent thousands of pounds wining and dining fellow MPs - including more than £2,000 on a "standing down" dinner for his former deputy.

A taxpayer-funded £37,000 portrait of the Speaker led to accusations of "vanity".

The official painting, by British artist Brendan Kelly, joined those of his predecessors going back to Sir Thomas More and featured a new coat of arms developed for Mr Bercow.

Donald Trump

The Speaker was criticised for voicing his opposition to the suggestion that US President Donald Trump might address Parliament during a 2017 state visit.


Introducing Chinese Premier Xi Jinping ahead of his address to Parliament in 2015, Mr Bercow said the Asian superpower should be a "moral inspiration" and "the world will be watching" - an apparent reference to Beijing's poor human rights record.

Bollocks to Brexit

Mr Bercow faced calls to resign in January after he was found to have a "Bollocks to Brexit" sticker in his car window.

"That sticker on the subject of Brexit happens to be affixed to or in the windscreen of my wife's car," he explained to MPs.

"She is entitled to her views: that sticker is not mine - and that's the end of it."

Theresa May

Finally, in March, he thwarted Theresa May's attempt to bring a third meaningful vote to Parliament.

He described it as "the same proposition or substantially the same proposition" as the second.