- Speaker John Bercow has dramatically announced that he is standing down the the Commons next month
- Mr Bercow was facing the Tories running a candidate against him at the election amid fury at Brexit handling
- He had caused fury by bending House of Commons procedures so Remainer rebel law could be passed
Speaker John Bercow today dramatically announced he is quitting by October 31 amid a huge Tory backlash at his handling of Brexit.
Mr Bercow dropped the bombshell in a statement to the House of Commons this afternoon, watched by wife Sally.
He said he would resign tonight in the unlikely event that MPs vote to hold an early election tonight.
To cheers and laughter from Labour MPs, he said otherwise the least disruptive would be for him to quit on October 31 – the current deadline for Brexit.
The move amounts to Mr Bercow jumping before he is pushed, as the Conservatives have declared they will break convention by running a candidate against him in Buckingham at the next election.
In a series of stinging shots at Boris Johnson, a tearful Mr Bercow said he made ‘no apology’ for being the ‘backbenchers’ backstop’ while in the chair – warning against ‘degrading’ Parliament.
‘At the 2017 election, I promised my wife and children that it would be my last,’ he told the House.
‘This is a pledge that 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 on Thursday, October 31.’
Mr Bercow said that meant that he could be in the chair for Queen’s Speech votes expected on October 21 and 22.
He added wryly: ‘The week or so after that may be quite lively and it would be best to have an experienced figure in the chair for that short period.’
Opposition MPs gave Mr Bercow a standing ovation after his announcement – but almost all Tories pointedly stayed in their seats.