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Boothroyd: Bercow should resign as Speaker

By Jon Craig, Chief Political Correspondent
Former Commons Speaker Betty Boothroyd has dramatically increased pressure on John Bercow to honour a pledge to quit later this year.
Baroness Boothroyd said Mr Bercow should step down in mid-Parliament as a "courtesy" to MPs and not wait until the next general election."I always believed long before I was Speaker, that a Speaker should retire mid-term," she said. "It should never be at the end of a parliamentary session."She also said Mr Bercow should also resign as MP for Buckingham, where he was first elected as a Conservative in 1997, at the same time as quitting as Speaker."I have a belief that when somebody is elected Speaker they retire from that seat," she added, in an interview with Parliament's House magazine.The comments by Baroness Boothroyd, regarded as the best Commons Speaker of recent times, will delight those MPs who want to remove Mr Bercow, but dismay his supporters.
Boothroyd: Bercow should resign as Speaker

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John Bercow is not universally admired as Speaker
Candidates to replace him are already thought to be preparing election campaigns, with former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman emerging as a leading contender.Mr Bercow, who survived a move by allies of David Cameron to oust him in 2015, promised to serve no more than nine years when he was elected Speaker in June 2009.But last year, in a move that infuriated his critics on the Conservative benches, he told Sky News he now intended to serve a full five-year term in the new parliament."I had originally indicated an intention to serve for approximately nine years," he told Sky News in an exclusive interview.And explaining his change of mind, he said: "If I may legitimately say so, I made that commitment eight years ago, it was before the Fixed Term Parliament Act, it was before the EU referendum."An increasingly controversial Speaker, Mr Bercow has faced increasing pressure in recent months, mainly from Conservative MPs who claim he is guilty of pro-Labour bias, to step down.Since marrying wife Sally, a prominent Labour activist who has frequently caused him embarrassment, he has been tough on Conservative ministers, regularly dragging them to the House to answer Urgent Questions.He infuriated pro-Brexit MPs when it was revealed earlier this year that his car displayed a sticker in the rear window which said: "b------- to Brexit, it's not a done deal".
At the same time, while he is nominally presiding over moves to stamp out a culture of bullying and sexual harassment at Westminster, he has been accused of bullying former members of his own staff.
Boothroyd: Bercow should resign as Speaker

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Bercow's impartiality questioned
MPs have also complained about his insulting comments to senior ministers.He accused Boris Johnson of sexism when the Foreign Secretary called Labour's Emily Thornberry her married name of Lady Nugee and told Chancellor Philip Hammond: "Stick to your abacus, man!"Explaining why she believes Mr Bercow should quit mid-term, Baroness Bothroyd said: "I was in the unfortunate position of when [Jack] Weatherill retired, it was at the end of a parliamentary session."And therefore, you have a new House, you have new members, they don't know who they're getting. Whereas, if it's mid-term, they know the weaknesses and strengths of a candidate."I believe all speakers should do that courtesy - it is a courtesy - to the House."And on why the Speaker should also resign as an MP, she said: "So, let's say the Speaker-elect is the member for Tolpuddle."The Speaker retires from the seat and a by-election takes place. They are then totally independent in the Chair."Remaining as the member for Tolpuddle would mean the electors of that constituency are not fully represented in Parliament. The democratic process is denied to thousands of citizens."It doesn't matter whether the issue of the day is pensions or peace, that constituency has neither voice nor vote in the forum of the nation and I believe it should have."This is what I would like to see. I think there is merit in putting this issue to a constitutional committee to examine it all in detail."
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"It is very good for a Speaker not to have the constituency because then the Speaker can represent Parliament around the country at NGOs, educational establishments, religious establishments, all sorts of organisations and tell them what parliament is all about."That is what the role is. And then be much freer perhaps to do overseas work as well."
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