I have no intention of going anywhere, says Commons Speaker Bercow


Commons Speaker John Bercow has faced down his critics by insisting that he has "no intention of going anywhere".

Mr Bercow was elected in June 2009 and promised to only serve for nine years, a commitment he has since reneged on.

As the ninth anniversary of his election passed, Mr Bercow told a reception in Speaker's House at the Palace of Westminster: "Notwithstanding occasional rumours to the contrary, I have got absolutely no intention of going anywhere."

Mr Bercow first took the Speaker's chair on June 22 2009, promising to serve "no more than nine years in total".

He abandoned that commitment ahead of the 2017 snap election but allegations of bullying by former members of his staff - denied by the Speaker - have led to fresh calls for him to quit.

At a reception for campaigners tackling homophobia in sport, Mr Bercow said: "It is a huge privilege to serve as Speaker, but not just so I can say to my grandchildren that I one day served as Speaker, I have always wanted this job in order to try to make a difference to the effective operation of the House of Commons as a legislature."

Defending his record, he said he had injected a "greater urgency into our proceedings" by making sure the Government "is properly held to account, is questioned, is probed, is scrutinised, is challenged, is contradicted where necessary".

But he added: "I have always felt outside the chamber there is a role for the Speaker as a facilitator of, and a trailblazer, for cultural change across the parliamentary estate."

Tory MP James Duddridge, a prominent critic of the Speaker, said he had broken his word to stand down.

"He really is a dishonourable man," Mr Duddridge told the Press Association.

"It's not him who chooses whether he goes on, it will be the House that ultimately decides his future if he is going to go back on his word."