Harman praises Bercow as she makes bid to replace him as Commons Speaker

Former Labour minister Harriet Harman has confirmed she will stand for Commons Speaker as she praised John Bercow’s controversial style in the post.

With Mr Bercow quitting the role at the end of next month, Ms Harman said his successor must continue to ensure Parliament has its say.

The former Labour deputy leader said the Speaker should not take sides politically but should allow Parliament to hold Government to account.

Ms Harman told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is the job of the Speaker to make sure that Parliament, by its majority, has its say, and I think that’s what John Bercow has sought to do.”

She added: “The Speaker doesn’t vote, doesn’t take sides in debates.

“But the Speaker is not neutral as between Parliament and the executive.

“The Speaker has to be on Parliament’s side and stand up for Parliament.

“The Speaker cannot but allow Parliament to have its say on what it wants to do.”

On Mr Bercow’s stance, Ms Harman said: “He has been right to say to ministers ‘you have got to come to the House, you have got to account for yourself’.”

Ms Harman, who was a prominent Remain campaigner in the EU referendum, said she would be able stand back from political issues if she became Speaker.

She said “I think I would be a champion for Parliament.

“The relationship between the Parliament and the public is very difficult at the moment and I think a really confident, positive voice, speaking about the importance of Parliament with the public, is necessary at this time.”

Ms Harman had been previously suggested by some campaigners against a no-deal Brexit as head of an interim cross-party Government if Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced from power in the coming weeks.

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