The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, will step down from the role following Dame Laura Cox’s report into bullying within the House, which showed that the “bullying and harassment is coming right from the top”.
Labour MP John Mann had his request for an Urgent question on the report accepted by Mr Bercow today, with Conservative MP Maria Miller calling upon the Speaker, who was unanimously elected in 2015 and 2017 following his first election to the role in 2009, to resign. Bercow has denied all allegations against him.
Sir Kevin Barron, the departing chair of the Commons standards committee, led a damaging attack against the Speaker, saying that he didn’t believe Bercow was the best person to change the culture in Westminster. Following accusations earlier this year that Mr Bercow, 55, had bullied his former private secretaries, it is widely believed that he should resign following this latest report.
When he was elected as Speaker, he had very little support from his now former party, the Conservatives, but had managed to win large swathes of Labour MPs over following what many believed was the forcing out of Michael Martin and Bercow’s perceived switch towards the left wing, which infuriated many of the Tory party. However, it would appear that he has lost the support of even his strongest allies.
The new head of the parliamentary standards committee, Labour MP Kate Green, opposed an investigation into Mr Bercow earlier this year following a referral by Kathryn Stone, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, but the committee voted three to two against it.
John Mann’s urgent question on the Cox Report was heard at 2pm today, and numerous MPs, including Maria Miller herself, called upon Mr Bercow to resign. Following the question, it has been reported that he will leave the role next summer, telling close friends that he will step down in his 10th year in the role. The outgoing Speaker has called for an independent investigation into the bullying reports.