John Bercow has been snubbed in the New Year honours – fuelling suggestions that he will become the first speaker in 230 years not to be automatically offered an honour after he stepped down last month.
The move would be seen as ‘revenge’ from prime minister Boris Johnson and his predecessor Theresa May over the handling of Brexit, after earlier this year media reports claimed Bercow would not receive automatic peerage.
The former speaker had previously revealed he had backed Remain in the EU referendum, and was accused of bias from prominent Brexiteers for his handling of Brexit in House of Commons business.
A government source told Mail Online: “No one in this government will be rushing to give Bercow a peerage. He likes to think of himself as a reforming speaker, yet he’s been dogged by scandals and given up any pretence he is impartial.
“With bullying claims, his Brexit bias and a willingness to ride roughshod over established procedures, this speaker has undermined public faith in parliament.”
However such peerages do not usually form part of the honours list and are usually granted by the Monarch at the House of Commons’ request.
Any move to prevent automatic peerage would depart with a tradition in the House of Commons lasting hundreds of years. Even Michael Martin, who was criticised for handling of the expenses scandal in 2009, went on to become a life peer until his death in 2018.
Newly-elected speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has also said that Bercow deserves to receive a peerage as per tradition.
“My view is every speaker has been offered a peerage, so custom and practice says that’s what’s always happened,” he told the BBC.
“It doesn’t have to be taken but, personally, I think if that has always happened then we should continue with that.
“I think it should be offered to him. He has served the House, he served for 10 years, he did some great things. And that’s what makes the difference.”
One of those politicians who did receive a New Year honour was Iain Duncan Smith, who will receive a knighthood from the Queen despite overseeing some of the cruellest attacks on the poorest and most vulnerable.