Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

John Bercow’s most controversial moments as Speaker

From expenses claims to opposing Donald Trump, Mr Bercow’s time in the chair has been colourful.

John Bercow (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
John Bercow (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

By Alasdair Jamieson, PA

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

His emotional speech on Monday characterised his colourful time in the role.

Here, PA looks at some of his more controversial moments.

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

The Speaker said he agreed hunting foxes to kill them was “wrong in the 21st century” amid calls for the ban to be repealed in 2011.

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”.

Sally Bercow described the view from the Speaker’s House as ‘sexy’ (John Walton/PA)

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”.

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.

Brendan Kelly’s portrait of the Speaker (House of Commons/PA)

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.

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

US President Donald Trump with then-prime minister Theresa May during his state visit (Frank Augustein/PA)

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.

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.”

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.



From Belfast Telegraph