John Bercow ‘to stay on as Speaker for a year’ to see through MPs’ Brexit vote
John Bercow is reportedly set to stay on as Speaker for another year in order to ensure that MPs are given their full say on the final Brexit deal.
Speculation has been mounting in recent months over when Mr Bercow is due to stand down, having initially pledged to quit the role after nine years - a deadline which passes on 22 June.
However friends of Mr Bercow told The Times he would retire next summer, adding that he had already mapped out future living arrangements for when he moved out of the Speaker’s residence in Parliament.
A source close to him told the paper: “The Government would love an inexperienced Speaker in the chair because they know that a new Speaker would initially be heavily reliant on the clerks, who are 'small c' conservative and instinctively give the benefit of the doubt to the Government of the day."
MPs are due to vote on the Brexit withdrawal agreement later this year, however ministers are thought to want to limit the number of amendments to it that are debated and voted on.
Mr Bercow’s allies add that he is “not trying to thwart or promote Brexit” but “just feels very strongly that there must be parliamentary scrutiny”.
The revelation comes as he has been forced to deny a series of bullying allegations in recent months from Commons staff, alongside an accusation of sexism from Tory minister Claire Perry yesterday.
Conservative backbencher James Duddridge, an arch-critic of Mr Bercow, told The Times that the Speaker's “credibility is going to further erode every day that passes beyond 22 June”.
He added: “Speaker Bercow has already proved himself not to be independent on Brexit. He is a vocal disruptor of all things Brexit against the will of the people.”
Ms Perry’s claim that Mr Bercow behaved in a “sexist and demeaning” way towards female MPs also threatens to boost the cause for his removal.
Her intervention came after Mr Bercow admonished the minister for “dilating” in the Commons by giving long answers in response to questions from MPs.
The Energy Minister wrote to the Speaker to argue a “pattern is emerging where you are finding it increasingly hard to interact respectfully with female MPs”.
In response, Mr Bercow rejected the allegations but invited Ms Perry to "clear the air" over cup of tea as soon as possible.