16 October 2019
Queen Mary’s Professor of Politics, Philip Cowley was quoted in an article about John Bercow. John Bercow is spending his final weeks as Speaker of the House of Commons in the same way he’s spent the previous decade: putting himself at the centre of events and making life difficult for the British government. Professor Cowley said: “If ever there was a politician who contained multitudes, it was John Bercow as Speaker.” Almost single-handedly, he managed to pull the House of Commons back into a more central role in the nation’s political discussion, while also doing much to change the way it worked internally. At the same time “his personal behaviour was much criticised and he leaves the post of Speaker much more politicised than when he came in to office,” Cowley said. In the UK parliament, the Speaker is supposed to be a neutral umpire. But even before Brexit polarized British politics, Bercow was despised by many Conservative lawmakers. As he sees it, he has only been on the side of Parliament.