Calls for John Bercow to stay on as speaker if election called

PUBLISHED: 14:27 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:27 29 October 2019

Speaker John Bercow in the House of Commons as they debate Boris Johnson's new Brexit deal. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire.

Speaker John Bercow in the House of Commons as they debate Boris Johnson's new Brexit deal. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire.

HOC/JESSICA TAYLOR

John Bercow has hinted he could remain in role as speaker if a snap general election is called for December.

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Bercow said he does not have the "slightest ambition to serve any longer" in the role beyond October 31, but added if the Commons asks him to stay on until parliament is dissolved for an election then he would take the request "extremely seriously".

The election for a new speaker is scheduled for Monday November 4 although parliament could be dissolved shortly after if MPs support a December election.

In response to a series of points of order, including requests for him to extend his stay, Bercow said: "I made my announcement on September 9 and I meant it, I have not the slightest ambition to serve any longer than the close of business on Thursday.

"Having been a member of this place 22 years and Speaker as 10 I will do my duty - and if the House asks me to do as people have requested, of course I take that extremely seriously and as close to being an instruction as makes no difference."

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Tory former minister Maria Miller earlier said: "The House of Commons could well agree to an early general election today with parliament dissolving on Monday which is the day scheduled for the election of your successor.

"If a general election is called, many members could be quite understandably detained in their constituencies on Monday, so to preserve the dignity of this place and also the importance of the election, could I call upon you to consider continuing in your position for the next two working days to ensure that you leave this place in the way that you would want to?"

Labour former minister and candidate to be the next speaker, Chris Bryant, said: "As a candidate I would just gently say that it would be good to get this resolved as soon as possible.

"I think it would be daft for us to have a speakership election before the general election."

Tory MP Michael Fabricant, however, said it is right MPs should choose a speaker they are familiar with.

He said new MPs elected after a general election may simply resort to voting along party lines if a new speaker is elected after a general election.

He said: "There is a possibility of a large churn at the next general election with new members of parliament, who actually won't have a clue about the individual candidates, will vote on party lines and I don't think that is right for parliament."

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