Calls for John Bercow to be given place in House of Lords

PUBLISHED: 16:05 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:05 31 October 2019

Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow walks over Westminster Bridge from a session in the gym this morning on his last day as speaker. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow walks over Westminster Bridge from a session in the gym this morning on his last day as speaker. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

John Bercow should be given a place in the House of Lords, MPs have said.

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As the outgoing speaker received tributes in the House of Commons on his final day, MPs called for him to be given a new role in public life.

Tory MP Michael Fabricant said Bercow should be given the post of Archbishop of Lichfield in his retirement.

Fabricant told the House of Commons that both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York are "overworked", and that another post would help ease the pressure.

He said: "Twelve hundred years ago, Archbishop Hygeberht was the Archbishop of Lichfield. It seems to me, Mr Speaker, that you could have a future role in your retirement as the Archbishop for Lichfield.

"Then the hard work done by the Archbishop of Canterbury and York can be shared. We have that precedent. We want him now."

Second Church Estates Commissioner Dame Caroline Spelman said King Offa had struck a deal to have an Archbishop in Lichfield in exchange for "an annual shipment of gold to the Pope".

She said Fabricant might like to make a "similar offer" to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Labour MP Barry Sheerman said: "You are a young man, you've got the career in front of you, I'm hoping you're going to do startling things.

"And I hope this miserable prime minister, who couldn't even pay tribute to the father of the house yesterday, will put you in the House of Lords, where your office deserves."

Sheerman said it would be an "absolute insult to this House" if Bercow is not given a place in the House of Lords because of "some pettiness".

He said: "I hope that kind of pettiness will not go to a repudiation of a long tradition that our speaker, when he retires from this place, will be offered a place in the House of Lords".

Sheerman also said Bercow should be given his own TV programme to bring politics "to life".

He said: "I was talking to ABC Television yesterday, they phoned me and said 'your speaker, would he be interested in doing a television programme in America? We love him in America'.

"And I said no. We want him to have a brand new television programme about politics called Order Order.

"So Mr Speaker, I want you to stay in politics, do a really good job on the media, and bring that to life in the way that you've brought this place to life."

During a tribute session in the Commons, Labour former minister Angela Eagle urged the government to elevate Mr Bercow to the Lords.

She said: "I think there's one place Mr Speaker still far too high-bound by tradition, that needs your open and reforming zeal in order that we might deal with it.

"And this is a question I have for the Leader of the House. Why on earth doesn't the right honourable gentleman get up now and say that he recognises the absolute ability to drive change in fusty-dusty organisations that Mr Speaker has shown and send him where he belongs: To the House of Lords?"

Responding, Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said: "I think has changed from a statement into a succession of speeches and it would be tiresome for the House if I popped up every other moment."

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