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Sun, 5 April 2020

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Speaker John Bercow 'to be denied peerage' following Brexit feud with ministers

Speaker John Bercow 'to be denied peerage' following Brexit feud with ministers
2 min read

John Bercow is set to be denied a peerage over his ongoing feud with ministers over Brexit, it has been reported.

According to The Times, the Commons Speaker could be passed over for elevation to the House of Lords when he eventually decides to stand down.

That would mark a major break with long-established tradition, which has seen successive Speakers given peerages by the Prime Minister after their time in the chair comes to an end.

Mr Bercow has angered the Government over a number of contentious decisions over Parliamentary procedure as Theresa May struggles to win backing for her Brexit deal.

Two weeks ago, he overturned centuries of precedent by allowing a government business motion to be amended by MPs to slash the time the Prime Minister had to respond after her deal was rejected.

That led to an hour-long series of Commons points of order, during which Mr Bercow was forced to deny being anti-Brexit.

And earlier this week, the Speaker raised eyebrows by only choosing four amendments to the meaningful vote, ignoring those which were thought to have government support.

One Cabinet source told The Times: "It’s a good job that peerage nominations are in our gift - I’m sure we’ll be thinking carefully about which individuals we would choose to elevate to the House of Lords. I can’t imagine we would look favourably on those who’ve cheated centuries of procedure."

Mr Bercow replaced Michael Martin as Speaker in 2009, and at the time said he was only spend nine years in the role.

However, last year he decided to extend his time in the Commons chair, and is now expected to stand down in the summer.

Speakers normally resign as an MP at the same time as quitting the post, thereby triggering a by-election in their seat.

Traditionally, a motion is then passed by the Commons asking the Queen to "confer some signal mark of Her Royal favour upon" the outgoing Speaker.

That usually means giving him or her or peerage, but the Government could signal its displeasure with Mr Bercow by ignoring that.

Asked by The House magazine in 2012 whether he would accept a peerage, Mr Bercow said: "I’ve no idea what’s going to happen in the future. I’m simply not going to get into that."

As well as controversy over his Brexit decisions, Mr Bercow has also faced allegations of bullying by senior staff - claims he vehemently denies.

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