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John Bercow has announced he will stand down as Commons speaker on 31 October at the latest.
On the verge of tears, the Buckingham MP said he had been the “backbenchers’ backstop” during his 10 years in the top job.
He added serving had been “the greatest honour of my professional life”.
Image: John Bercow will resign by 31 October Watched by his wife Sally from the gallery, Mr Bercow said he would stay in his post until Brexit day at the latest because it was the “least disruptive” timetable.
MPs, mostly from the opposition benches but only a handful from the Tory side, rose to applaud his speech as he thanked them, saying: “You really are a very, very generous bunch.”
Advertisement “I wish my successor the very best fortune in standing up for the rights of MPs individually and for parliament institutionally,” he added.
Some speculated he has “jumped before being pushed” after the Conservatives planned to break a long-standing convention that the main parties do not put up candidates against the speaker in their constituency at an election.
More from John Bercow Tories to contest John Bercow’s seat in bid to oust Commons speaker Brexit: John Bercow warns Tory hopefuls that MPs will block no-deal Brexit An old rule means Bercow could take drastic action on Brexit Dame Eleanor Laing: Bercow deputy says there is ‘too much aggression’ at PMQs Commons Speaker John Bercow defends Brexit impartiality – but admits ‘concern’ at lack of deal ‘Order! Order! Order!’ – John Bercow bemuses world with colourful style Image: Only a handful of Tory MPs stood to applaud the speaker Michael Gove, a long-serving cabinet minister and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, paid tribute to Mr Bercow’s “unwavering” commitment to his principles and constituents.
“Your role as the backbenchers’ backstop is certainly one that has been appreciated by individuals across this house,” he added.
Speaker Bercow’s best moments
Referring to the many run-ins Mr Bercow had with Theresa May’s government, Mr Gove admitted some MPs have been “bridled or chastened at some of the judgements that you’ve made”.
But he insisted he had “never been in any doubt” about the speaker’s commitment to scrutinising ministers.
Image: The speaker had several run-ins with Theresa May’s government Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn thanked Mr Bercow for his “superb” record, adding: “Our democracy is the stronger for your being the speaker.”
“As somebody who aspires to hold executive office, I like the idea of a powerful parliament holding the executive to account.
“It’s something I’ve spent the last 35 years doing myself.”
Mr Bercow promised to only serve for nine years when he was first elected in 2009 as speaker – a job that puts him in charge of presiding over Commons proceedings, including picking which amendments to draft laws are voted on.
He was first elected as a Conservative MP in 1997, and went on to serve as shadow chief secretary to the Treasury and international development secretary.
The 56-year-old stopped representing the Tories to fill the role which must be held by someone impartial.
Image: Mr Bercow said he would serve for nine years when he got the job in 2009 Kate McCann, Sky News’ political correspondent, said: “In choosing to step down on 31 October at the latest, Mr Bercow guarantees that the next speaker will be selected by the current parliament, amid concerns that new MPs are more vulnerable to being told what to do by whips and senior government figures.
“In leaving he is seeking to ensure MPs retain a voice in the chair willing to stand against Number 10 if required.”
Those who could replace Mr Bercow include current deputy speakers Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Eleanor Laing, along with Labour MPs Harriet Harman, Chris Bryant, and Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh – who has already confirmed that he will stand.
The new PM has remained steadfastly committed to bringing the country out “come what may” on 31 October. By Rebecca Taylor, news reporter Fill 2 Copy 11 Why you can trust Sky News
Boris Johnson is returning to London today to consider his next move in the Brexit crisis, cutting short his visit to the Queen at her Scottish holiday home.
On Friday, the House of Lords passed a bill which effectively blocks a no-deal Brexit, meaning Mr Johnson will have to return to the EU to ask for an extension, should it become law.
But Mr Johnson has remained steadfastly committed to bringing the country out “come what may” on 31 October, with the chances of a new deal fading day by day.
Mr Johnson may be forced to defy the law rather than ask for a new Brexit extension, according to a letter sent to Tory Party members.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Mr Johnson wrote to party members on Friday evening, saying: “They just passed a law that would force me to beg Brussels for an extension to the Brexit deadline. This is something I will never do.” Advertisement The former Tory MPs now have some decisions to make
Earlier on Friday, he told reporters he would not entertain seeking another extension from the EU, despite the new law compelling him to do so if there is no agreement in place by 19 October.
Responding to a question about whether he would follow the law, he said: “I will not. I don’t want a delay.” More from Boris Johnson PM braced for result of legal challenge to parliament suspension
Mr Johnson does risk being taken to court if he fails to carry out the will of parliament, and could be held in contempt or jailed, if he refuses.
Former Conservative Party chairman Iain Duncan Smith told the Telegraph: “This is about parliament versus the people. Boris Johnson is on the side of the people, who voted to leave the EU.
“The people are sovereign because they elect parliament. But parliament wants to stop the will of the people.” Image: Boris Johnson needs a plan B, according to some of his ministers
Other ministers are said to be urging Mr Johnson to reconcile with the 21 MPs he sacked from the party after they voted against him.
According to The Times, senior government figures believe the prime minister needs to “come up with a plan B” and distance himself from the Eurosceptic wing of the party, after the opposition boxed him in and blocked his call for a snap general election. Boris Johnson called David Cameron ‘girly swot’, leaked document reveals
The new law blocking no-deal, which is expected to be given Royal Assent on Monday, will also rule out an early election before the European Council summit on 17 October.
Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and Plaid Cymru met on Friday to agree to block Mr Johnson’s election request , two days after a similar motion was defeated because it failed to make the two-thirds threshold required. Image: Iain Duncan-Smith said the PM should be a martyr for Brexit
One cabinet minister told The Times: “Boris needs to make peace with the Tory rebels and get serious about making a deal with Brussels, even if that means throwing the Spartans [hardline Brexiteers] under a bus.
“Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s senior adviser, may be very clever but his plan has failed. We now need a plan B.”
But Home Secretary Priti Patel was scathing about Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to block an election.
Writing in The Telegraph, she accused him of showing a “disdain for democracy” and causing “bewilderment and anger” among voters.
But The Sun and the Daily Mail take the view that Mr Johnson might use the election manoeuvring to his advantage, by quitting Number 10, leaving Mr Corbyn to take over, call for the delay and face the backlash himself. How do you win a general election?
Meanwhile, sacked Conservative Nicholas Soames has written a scathing piece in The Times, saying Mr Johnson is “nothing like” his grandfather Winston Churchill.
The prime minister is said to model himself on the World War Two hero, but his grandson said: “Winston Churchill was like Winston Churchill because of his experiences in life. Boris Johnson’s experience in life is telling a lot of porkies about the European Union in Brussels and then becoming prime minister.”
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Sir Nicholas, who admitted he cried after finding out he was no longer a Conservative MP after 37 years, said Mr Johnson was not behaving like a statesman.
He said: “I think Churchill would have thought it extraordinary that we would have thought ourselves so successful, so powerful, so well thought of in the world that we could afford to give up this extraordinary relationship we have in this great European Union.” Image: Dominic Cummings is coming under fire from cabinet minister
Sir Nicholas became one of many MPs to confirm this week they would be stepping down at the next election after the chaos in Westminster.
He also hit out at Jacob Rees-Mogg after he was spotted lounging on the front bench in the Commons this week saying: “He is an absolute fraud, he is a living example of what a moderately cut double-breasted suit and a decent tie can do with an ultra-posh voice and a bit of ginger stuck up his a***. You do not behave like that as Leader of the House.”
He continued: “I thought it was b bad manners and he of all people should know better. He has had all the advantages and frankly nanny made a serious bish. I wanted to kick him firmly in the a*** and say, ‘What the hell do you think you are playing at? Sit up!'” Sacked MP refuses to answer question on PM
He also likened the leader of the house’s Brexit speech to the “lowest form of student union hackery”.
Mr Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds made the traditional trip to Balmoral, but it was far shorter than usual, because of the turmoil in Westminster. More stories
Britain could be facing a new “Beast from the East” big freeze this winter, scientists have warned.
After studying sea temperatures and air pressure over the north Atlantic Ocean, climate experts have suggested January and February 2020 could be among the coldest for decades.
This would be caused by the jet stream – strong winds that move weather systems across from the Atlantic to Britain – deflecting southwards for weeks around Christmas, allowing freezing air to dominate.
The predictions for over four months’ time are one of the longest-range UK weather forecasts ever attempted.
Image: The extreme conditions caused widespread disruption Scientists from University College London have forecast an average temperature of 3.9C (39F) for January to February next year in central England – which they said was 0.5C below the 1981 to 2010 average for the same period.
Advertisement The team, led by Mark Saunders, professor of climate prediction at UCL, wrote in a paper : “This would rank 2020 January-February central England as the coldest winter since January-February 2013.
“It would also rank January-February 2020 as the seventh coldest winter in the last 30 years, and the 23rd coldest winter since 1953.”
More from UK Young mother and man killed in night of bloodshed in London Mya-Lecia Naylor: CBBC star, 16, died after hanging herself, inquest hears Prince Andrew spotted with celebrity lawyer who specialises in reputation management Anger over British Airways pilots’ strike as UK family left ‘stranded in Cyprus’ LIVE: ‘The PM is on a power trip’ – MPs heap criticism on Johnson ahead of key vote Devon police urge people to avoid town of Ottery St Mary after flash flooding “There is a 57% chance the central England temperature will be colder than the 4.1C (39.4F) in 2018, thus making it the coldest January-February since 2013,” they added.
The 2018 “Beast from the East” happened after very cold air swept in from Russia.
It brought unusually low temperatures and heavy snowfall to large parts of the UK in late February and March last year.
Seventeen people died, including a seven-year-old girl, and temperatures plummeted to -17C in the Cairngorms in Scotland.
The possible new extreme freezing weather would contrast markedly with this July when the UK recorded its highest-ever temperature, which was 38.7C (101.7F) in Cambridge.