In Brief

John Bercow to ‘step down next month’

Commons Speaker has faced calls to go after numerous accusations of bullying

John Bercow will step down as Speaker of the House of Commons next month, a senior Conservative MP has claimed.

Sir Peter Bottomley, one of the MPs who ceremonially dragged Bercow to the Speaker’s chair at the start of the 2015 and 2017 parliaments, said he had “confidence” Bercow would quit as planned on 22 June, and honour a pledge he made in 2009 to serve only nine years.

The Sunday Times has also recently reported that Bercow would step down as Speaker this year.

But Bottomley’s remarks are “significant”, says The Daily Telegraph, “as they are the first time that a senior Tory grandee has spoken out against the Speaker, who is mired in claims about alleged bullying, which he strongly denies”.

Bercow faces calls for an  independent inquiry after Angus Sinclair, the Speaker’s former private secretary, accused him of physically intimidating, demeaning and mimicking him before he took “compulsory early retirement” in 2010.

Despite receiving widespread support from MPs from across the political spectrum, Bercow remains in a precarious position.

He said after last year’s general election that he wanted to serve a full term as MP, which led to some to suggest he was hoping to stay on as Speaker until 2022. However, speaking to the Telegraph, Bottomley said it would be a “challenge to the principles of public service” if Bercow reneged on his promise to stand down.

A statement released by the Speaker’s Office said Bercow’s views were “on record” and “he has nothing further to add to what he said in the House and on previous occasions”.

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