John Bercow ‘to stay on as Speaker’ over reported Government threat to deny him peerage

Posted On: 
20th January 2019

John Bercow could ditch plans to quit as Commons speaker later this year, after reports the Government could deny him a peerage when he steps down.

John Bercow could stay on until 2022, according to reports
PA Images

Friends of Mr Bercow told the Observer that he disapproved of attempts to bully him and he was “seriously reflecting” on whether to stay on until 2022.

He was previously expected to stay in his post until after Brexit, despite once promising to quit last year.

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The Commons speaker infuriated the Government after he selected a controversial amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill against the advice of his Clerks.

His move resulted in Theresa May being forced to outline her alternative Brexit plan within three sitting days of her agreement being defeated.

He later failed to select an amendment favoured by Brexiteers that if supported would have put a time limit on the Irish backstop.

Mr Bercow has faced consistent calls to quit by eurosceptic Tory MPs, who accuse him of being anti-Brexit, as well as other Tories who think he helps the Labour party too much.

Peerages for retiring speakers are normally approved by Downing Street as a matter of course, but reports have emerged that the historic convention could be broken over the Brexit feud. 

A Cabinet source told the Times on Friday: "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."

The Speaker will again be thrust into the limelight this week when Theresa May returns to parliament to lay out how the Government will move forward on Brexit.

MPs will then vote on that on 29 January, and are said to be plotting amendments to the motion that could seize control of Brexit from the Government.

One backbencher told the Observer: “The Speaker will play a critical role in the coming days, selecting amendments and determining parliamentary business.

"If ministers thought it was a good idea to put his back up they may regret it.”