John Bercow

Speaker of the House of Commons (born 1963)

John Simon Bercow MP (/ˈbɜːkəʊ/; born 19 January 1963) is a British former politician who was Speaker of the House of Commons from 2009 to 2019, and Member of Parliament (MP) for Buckingham between 1997 and 2019. A member of the Conservative Party prior to becoming Speaker, he was the first MP since Selwyn Lloyd in 1971 to be elected Speaker without having been a Deputy Speaker. After resigning as Speaker in 2019 and opting not to seek re-election as MP for Buckingham in the 2019 general election, Bercow left Parliament. In 2021, he joined the Labour Party but was suspended in 2022. He was banned for life from the parliamentary estate in March 2022 for misconduct, including bullying, by an Independent Expert Panel upholding the conclusions of a report from Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Bercow continued to deny the veracity of the official findings.

Bercow in 2018




  • You need to write out a thousand times, "I will behave myself at Prime Minister’s Questions".
  • You are an incorrigible delinquent at times. Behave yourself, man!


  • It’s a point so blindingly obvious that only an extraordinarily clever and sophisticated person could fail to grasp it.
    • During a May 2016 debate in the House of Commons.
    • Compare: A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.


  • Difference of opinion is of the essence of politics. There is an elaborate combination of finger wagging and head shaking going on which may be personally therapeutic but is institutionally disadvantageous.
    • Said during Questions to the Prime Minister [2] (06 March 2019)
  • At the 2017 election, I promised my wife and children that it would be my last. This is a pledge I intend to keep. If the House votes tonight for an early general election, my tenure as Speaker and MP will end when this Parliament ends. If the House does not so vote, I have concluded that the least disruptive and most democratic course of action would be for me to stand down at the close of business of Thursday, October the 31st. Least disruptive because that date will fall shortly after the votes on the Queen's Speech expected on 21st and 22nd October. The week also after that may be quite lively and it would be best to have an experienced figure in the chair for that short period.
  • They are entitled to their opinion, but they suffer from the notable disadvantage of being completely wrong.
    • Addressing the House of Commons shortly after announcing his resignation as speaker [3]


  • Well I'm sure he's got a great many merits, but thus far they've been fairly effectively concealed from public view.
    • Said in response to being asked about his opinion of former Prime Minister David Cameron. [4]


  • The ICGS Bullying and Harassment Policy was breached repeatedly and extensively by the most senior Member of the House of Commons. In all, 21 separate allegations were proved and have been upheld. The House may feel that his conduct brought the high office of Speaker into disrepute.
    This was behaviour which had no place in any workplace. Members of staff in the House should not be expected to have to tolerate it as part of everyday life. ...
    [T]he respondent [Mr Bercow] has been widely unreliable and repeatedly dishonest in his evidence. He has attempted to defeat these complaints by false accusations of collusion and by advancing lies.  ...
    The findings of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, which we have upheld, show that the respondent has been a serial bully.  [...]
    His evidence in the investigations, the findings of the Commissioner, and his submissions to us, show also that the respondent has been a serial liar.
    His behaviour fell very far below that which the public has a right to expect from any Member of Parliament.
    The respondent’s conduct was so serious that, had he still been a Member of Parliament, we would have determined that he should be expelled by resolution of the House. As it is, we recommend that he should never be permitted a pass to the Parliamentary estate.
  • All I can say is that the case against me would have been thrown out by any court in the land since it is based on the flimsiest of evidence, rooted in hearsay and baseless rumour, and advanced by old school dogmatists once intent on resisting change at all costs and now settling some ancient scores with me.
    Add to that a dash of personal spite and you have some idea of the vengeful vendetta mounted against me. It is a travesty of justice and brings shame on the House of Commons.
    This has been a protracted, amateurish and unjust process which would not have survived five minutes' scrutiny in court.
    To describe what I have experienced as a kangaroo court is grossly insulting to kangaroos. None of the investigators is a lawyer and the Commissioner overseeing them has no expertise whatsoever in the consideration of alleged bullying.
    • Response to the report of the Independent Experts Panel cited by Sky News (8 March 2022).
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