Belfast Telegraph

DUP's Shannon has warm words for Bercow as he announces plan to quit

Speaker John Bercow
Speaker John Bercow
Jim Shannon
MPs applaud in the House of Commons after Speaker John Bercow announced he is standing down from the post

By Harriet Line

John Bercow and a DUP MP paid touching tributes to each other as the Commons Speaker announced he will quit at the end of next month unless an election is called beforehand.

In an impassioned speech Mr Bercow, who has held the influential post for just over 10 years, also said he would step down as MP for Buckingham.

As his wife Sally looked on from the Commons gallery, Mr Bercow said he has "sought to be the backbenchers' backstop".

Mr Bercow entered Parliament in 1997 and held several shadow ministerial positions before taking the Speaker's chair on June 22, 2009, promising to serve "no more than nine years in total".

He abandoned that commitment ahead of the 2017 snap election, but allegations of bullying by former members of his staff, strongly denied by the Speaker, led to fresh calls for him to quit.

In recent months he has also come under fire for a series of controversial rulings widely considered to favour Remain supporters.

Strangford DUP MP Jim Shannon told Mr Bercow: "You have always been the backbenchers' champion." He added: "Even with my Ulster Scots and my accent, you always seem to understand me.

"I will miss you when you are not here. Whatever you do in this world, I know that you will do it well. I wish you well. I wish your family well. Godspeed and God bless."

Mr Bercow told MPs Mr Shannon was "a person of strong religious faith". He added: "What I admire about the honourable gentleman - and it makes him a most lovable figure in the House of Commons - is that he radiates warmth, empathy and compassion. He is one of those people of faith who do not spend time preaching it but live it."

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