John Bercow re-elected as Commons Speaker with ‘testing times’ ahead
The Buckingham MP says he will ensure all parts of the House are heard “fully and fairly”.
John Bercow has been re-elected as Commons Speaker, telling MPs: “We appear to be destined for testing times, I offer myself to the House as a tested Speaker.”
The Buckingham MP added he will ensure all parts of the House are heard “fully and fairly”, with the rights of backbenchers championed in order to hold the Government to account.
Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed his appointment, joking: “At least someone got a landslide.”
Mr Bercow had been expected to face a challenge if the Conservatives had secured an increased majority following the General Election.
But the disastrous showing at the polls for Mrs May’s party saw it lose its majority and forced opponents of Mr Bercow to back down.
The House fell silent when Conservative former minister Ken Clarke, the Father of the House, asked if anyone opposed a motion for Mr Bercow’s reappointment.
Mr Bercow began by praising Mr Clarke for serving as an MP continuously for 47 years and said the Commons is “more richly diverse and representative of modern Britain than any of its predecessors”.
He said: “I will strive to ensure all parts of the House are heard fully and fairly, and as always I will champion the right of backbenchers to question, to probe, to scrutinise and to hold to account the government of the day.”
Mr Bercow, in an apparent nod to concerns about the length of time he plans to serve as Speaker, joked it “may come as a relief” to know he is not seeking to serve for 47 years as an MP or Speaker.
Ken Clarke, father of the House, calls John Bercow to speak. Bercow praises Clarke for 47 years of service to cheers from all sides— Lizzy Buchan (@LizzyBuchan) June 13, 2017
Bercow says he'll be "a tested speaker... for testing times"— Lizzy Buchan (@LizzyBuchan) June 13, 2017
He added: “That said, we appear to be destined for testing times, I offer myself to the House as a tested Speaker.”
Five Tory MPs backed a no confidence motion against Mr Bercow earlier this year after he said US President Donald Trump should not be allowed to address Parliament on his state visit.
However, prominent critic and Conservative former minister James Duddridge said on Monday there was “no appetite” to push a vote to challenge him anymore, adding there were “more important battles to fight” in the UK following the General Election.
Mr Bercow became Speaker in 2009 and initially said he wanted to serve for nine years, but has since indicated he will serve for longer – potentially another five years if the current Parliament survives its full term.
Mrs May, in her first remarks in the Commons since losing her majority, said: “In your tenure so far you have been a great champion of backbenchers, ensuring that every member of this House has the opportunity to speak and to be heard in representing the people they serve.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said there has been “no better Speaker” than Mr Bercow during his 34 years as MP for Islington North.
Acting SNP Westminster leader Stewart Hosie wished Mr Bercow all the very best of luck, adding: “Given there is no absolute majority in this House, we are in for interesting times.”
MPs will begin the process of swearing-in from 2.40pm on Wednesday. This enables them to formally take their seats in the Commons.