John Bercow has announced that he is to stay in his post as speaker of the House of Commons despite previous expectations that he was to stand down.
Mr Bercow was believed to be planning to stand down as speaker in July when he will have been in the post for 10 years. However, in an interview with The Guardian newspaper he said: “I’ve never said anything about going in July of this year.
“Secondly, I do feel that now is a time in which momentous events are taking place and there are great issues to be resolved and in those circumstances, it doesn’t seem to me sensible to vacate the chair.”
He added: “If I had any intention to announce on that matter… I would do so to parliament first.”
This turnaround will be seen by many as an attempt by the outspokenly political Bercow to disrupt or even prevent a ‘No Deal’ Brexit scenario.
Remainer Speaker Allows MPs to Vote to Disrupt No Deal Brexit, Pro-EU Tory Rebels Vote with Left to Defeat Government https://t.co/6k3xHqgA7f
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 9, 2019
The speaker, who is supposed to remain politically neutral, has publicly expressed his distaste for a no-deal Brexit on multiple occasions. In separate comments made at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC on Tuesday, Mr Bercow said: “The idea that there is an inevitability of a no-deal Brexit would be a quite wrong suggestion. There is no inevitability whatsoever about that.”
Mr Bercow claimed that the possibility of a no-deal Brexit could be blocked by the House of Commons and would not happen by default.
The largely pro-remain House of Commons has already voted against the possibility of a no-deal Brexit and Mr Bercow’s comments over the past 24 hours seem to be a warning to any future Conservative leader that a no-deal option would be opposed in the House by MPs.
Bercow told the American think tank: “The idea the House won’t have its say is for the birds. Parliament is a big player in this. The idea that parliament is going to be evacuated from the centre stage of debate on Brexit is simply unimaginable.”
Remainer Speaker Bercow Blocks Vote on Stopping Second Referendum https://t.co/PjMWfE8LRp
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 14, 2019
Labour peer and arch-Remainer Lord Adonis, who failed to win a seat in the European Parliament elections, took to Twitter to boast about the announcement and its potential impact on Brexit, claiming: “Significant. No chance of no deal, unless [Boris] Johnson succeeds in suspending the constitution.”
Adonis went on to add: “John Bercow [is] absolutely right to stay in post until Brexit is resolved. He has enabled parliament & the people to take back control from a dictatorial & dangerous government. His duty is to remain!”
Mr Bercow has previous form in working from his position as speaker to oppose Brexit. In a series of Parliamentary amendments in March, Mr Bercow selected four of the 11 put forward to him, all of which were pro-Remain amendments. He also declined to put forward a vote ruling out a second referendum on Brexit.
Brexit is not the only issue where Mr Bercow has been outspoken and overly political. His views on U.S. President Donald Trump were made widely known when he effectively banned the President from addressing both Houses of Parliament during his last visit to the UK. Mr Bercow has also opted to boycott the state banquet in honour of the President during his state visit next month.
Lord Speaker Slams Commons Speaker Snubbing Trump as Insult to U.S. D-Day Vets https://t.co/PwLoeWDoyC
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 1, 2019