Tearful House of Commons Speaker John Bercow to stand down amid Brexit chaos
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Tearful House of Commons Speaker John Bercow to stand down amid Brexit chaos

JOHN BERCOW, the Speaker for the British House of Commons has announced today that he is to stand down after 22 years as a Member of Parliament.

His decision to step away from Parliament is the latest in a series of destabilising events surrounding UK politics, with the Brexit deadline just over 50 days away.

Since 2009, Bercow has served as Speaker of the House, but this afternoon he effectively called time on his distinguished career in the lower chamber after revealing he promised his family that the 2017 general election was to be his last.

With the threat of a snap general election looming, and Brexit insecurities ever-present, Bercow told fellow MPs that he would step down on October 31 at the latest, but sooner if the country was sent to the polls before then.

"At the 2017 election, I promised my wife and children that it would be my last," he announced.

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"This is a pledge that I intend to keep. If the House votes tonight for an early general election, my tenure as Speaker and MP will end when this Parliament ends.

Bercow adresses the House to announce his impending resignation

"If the House does not so vote, I have concluded that the least disruptive and most democratic course of action would be for me to stand down at the close of business on Thursday, October 31.

"Least disruptive because that date will fall shortly after the votes on the Queen’s speech expected on October 21 and 22."

Bercow's announcement was met with gasps, and then applause from MPs in the chamber after the Speaker's tearful acknowledgement of his wife - who was watching from the public gallery - and his three children.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson missed the announcement due to his visit to Ireland today to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, but Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was quick to praise the outgoing Speaker.

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"In your role as Speaker you have totally changed the way in which the job has been done. You’ve reached out to people across the whole country," Corbyn noted.

"This Parliament is stronger for your being Speaker. Our democracy is the stronger for your being the Speaker. And whatever you do when you finally step down from Parliament, you do so with the thanks of a very large number of people."