MAVERICK TORY GETS SPEAKER JOB, AGED JUST 46; Bercow Wins Historic Vote to Replace Martin

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), June 23, 2009 | Go to article overview

MAVERICK TORY GETS SPEAKER JOB, AGED JUST 46; Bercow Wins Historic Vote to Replace Martin


Byline: Kevin Schofield

JOHN Bercow was last night elected as the new Speaker of the House of Commons.

He defeated fellow Tory Sir George Young by 322 votes to 271 in a third run-off vote.

Eight other challengers, including Margaret Beckett and Ann Widdecombe, had earlier dropped out of the race after failing to get enough support.

The MP for Buckingham succeeds Michael Martin, who quit as Speaker following intense criticism of his handling of the Westminster expenses scandal.

At 46, he is the youngest person in modern times to hold the post and the 157th in total. He is also the first Jew to hold the post.

Bercow was the early favourite to be chosen, but his support had appeared to be dwindling in recent days as Tories, who see him as too close to the Labour Party, rallied behind Old Etonian Young.

Cheered But Bercow's vote was boosted by Labour MPs, many of whom switched their support from Margaret Beckett, after the favourite dropped out.

Many Labour backbenchers recognised it was the Tories' turn to have a Speaker and considered Bercow to be the best option.

As a result, Labour MPs greeted Bercow's victory with cheers and loud applause, while many Tories sat grim-faced.

Bercow said being elected Speaker was "the greatest honour" of his professional life.

He told MPs: "I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the confidence that you have placed in me and I'm keenly aware of the obligations into which I now enter."

Claims he sang The Sash at a gathering of young Tories in the late 1980s appeared to have dented Bercow's chances.

Questions were also raised about his expenses claims after it was revealed that he "flipped" his second home from his constituency address to his London flat. …

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