World News

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow to stand down

Posted September 9, 2019 11:41 a.m. EDT

— John Bercow has announced that he will stand down as Speaker of the UK's House of Commons by October 31 -- the day Britain is set to leave the European Union -- after a decade in the position.

Bercow, whose cries of, "Order, Order!" have gone viral amid months of Brexit chaos, has at times been a divisive figure in the Speaker's chair.

His proponents have hailed him as an unparalleled ally to backbench MPs, while his detractors have criticized him for his interventions in the Brexit debate.

Bercow -- a larger-than-life character in British politics -- told Parliament on Monday that he would quit his job by October 31, but said he would stand down sooner if MPs vote for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's snap general election.

Opposition parties have said they will not back Johnson's second bid for an election Monday, in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit, so it is likely Bercow will leave at the end of October.

"Throughout my time as speaker I have sought to increase the relative authority of this legislature, for which I will make absolutely no apology to anyone, anywhere, at any time," Bercow told MPs.

"To deploy a perhaps dangerous phrase, I have also sought to be the backbenchers' backstop," he added.

"This has been ... the greatest privilege and honor of my professional life for which I will be eternally grateful."