BREAKING: John Bercow announces that he will stand down

John Bercow (centre) with Calvert Green residents on a recent trip to see how HS2 will affect the area
John Bercow (centre) with Calvert Green residents on a recent trip to see how HS2 will affect the area

Buckingham MP and Commons Speaker John Bercow has announced in Parliament today that he is to stand down.

Mr Bercow told the Commons this afternoon that he will stand down either at the next election, or at the close of business on Thursday, 31 of October. Whichever comes first.

John Bercow has been MP for Buckingham since 1997, and has been Speaker of the House since June 2009.

His resignation statement to the House is as follows: "

"Colleagues, I would like to make a personal statement to the house. 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 stand down at the close of business on Thursday, 31 October. Least disruptive because that date will fall shortly after the votes on the Queen’s speech expected on 21 and 22 October.

"The week also after that may be quite lively and it would be best to have an experienced figure in the chair for that short period.

"Most democratic because it will mean that a ballot is held when all members have some knowledge of the candidates. This is far preferable to a contest at the beginning of a parliament when new MPs will not be similarly informed and may find themselves vulnerable to undue institutional influence.

"We would not want anyone to be whipped senseless, would we? Throughout my time as Speaker I have sought to increase the relative authority of this legislature for which I will make absolutely no apology to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

"To deploy a perhaps dangerous phrase, I have also sought to be the backbencher’s backstop.

"I could not do so without the support of a small but superb team in Speaker’s House, the wider house staff, my Buckingham constituents, and above all my wife, Sally, and our three children, Oliver, Freddy and Jemima. From the bottom of my heart, I thank them all profusely.

"I could also not have served without the repeated support of this house and its members past and present. This is a wonderful place filled overwhelmingly by people who are motivated by their notion of the national interest by their perception of the public good. And by their duty, not as delegates, but as representatives, to do what they believe is right for our country.

"We degrade this parliament at our peril. I have served as a member of parliament for 22 years, and for the last 10 as Speaker. This has been, let me put it explicitly, the greatest privilege and honour of my professional life for which I will be eternally grateful.

"I wish my successor in the chair the very best fortune in standing up for the rights of honourable and right honourable members individually and for parliament institutionally as the Speaker of the House of Commons."