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Speaker’s Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 21st October 2019.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee 3:31 pm, 21st October 2019

As the hon. Gentleman will know, repetition is not a novel phenomenon in the House of Commons, including when perpetrated by me. I have made the point often—forgive me, but I make it again—that I tend to subscribe to the dictum of the late Lord Whitelaw in these matters. He famously used to say, “Personally, I think it is better to cross bridges only when I come to them”. It is a hypothetical question, and I would have to reflect on it and make a judgment in the circumstances of the time.

I do not want to fall out with the hon. Gentleman, and I appreciate his courteous opening remarks. He will not be surprised to know that, although I absolutely defend his right to his opinion, I do not accept his characterisation of my speakership. I have tried to do the right thing by Parliament. Sometimes people like it when it goes their way and sometimes they do not when it does not, but that is my honest approach. If he disapproves of it, I am sorry about that, because I have known him a long time, but I will live with that. I do not mean that in any discourteous or patronising way, but I will live with that. It is one verdict, and there will be others. However, I have made the judgment I have made, and let us wait and see how events develop.