John Bercow vows to remain as speaker in shock announcement
John Bercow has enraged pro-Brexit MPs by vowing to stay on in his position as Speaker of the House of Commons.
Despite telling friends that he would stand down in July after 10 years in the chair, Bercow said it was not “sensible to vacate the chair” whilst serious issues such as Brexit were ongoing.
Bercow’s announcement is likely to enrage hard-right Brexiteers in the Commons, who had hoped that Bercow’s standing down would make their task of pushing through a hard-Brexit much easier. However, in a speech in Washington DC on Tuesday, Bercow said it was “for the birds” to think that parliament could be left out of the Brexit debate.
Speaking to the Guardian newspaper after his speech, Bercow said: “I’ve never said anything about going in July of this year. Secondly, I do feel that now is a time in which momentous events are taking place and there are great issues to be resolved and in those circumstances, it doesn’t seem to me sensible to vacate the chair.”
He added: “If I had any intention to announce on that matter … I would do so to parliament first.
May blames Brexit failure for EU elections disaster
Theresa May has blamed the failure to deliver Brexit for the Tories disastrous loss of seats at the European elections last week.
Speaking at a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels, May chose not to indicate which way the Brexit process should continue – amidst calls for no-deal from potential Tory leadership hopefuls, but said she hoped her successor would find a “consensus” to move forward.
Speaking on Tuesday, May said: “While I’ve been prime minister, I’ve been to something like 15 meetings or more and, in every one of those, I’ve been working hard to negotiate the best possible deal for the UK in leaving the European Union and it’s a matter of great regret to me that I haven’t been able to deliver Brexit.
“But of course that matter is for my successor and they will have to find a way of addressing the very strongly held views on both sides of this issue. To do that and to get a majority in parliament, as I said on Friday, I think will require compromise.
“I’ve always taken a view that the best option for the UK is to leave the European Union with a deal. I’m not going to comment on the views of individual candidates. There will be a process of selecting my successor as leader of the Conservative party but I continue to have the view that it’s best for the UK to leave with a deal.”
Rory Stewart addresses ‘suicide bomber’ remarks
Tory leadership hopeful Rory Stewart has pointed the finger at supporters of Boris Johnson over remarks calling him a “suicide bomber” candidate clearing a path for Michael Gove.
The international development secretary told the Guardian newspaper that he found the remarks offensive, and that he had put himself forward for the top job because he believed he could win it.
“The fact these guys are using the word ‘suicide bomber’, that is something uncomfortable for me as someone who has been around Iraq and Afghanistan. I can’t think of who else, a leading figure in British politics, who might use such a phrase, ‘suicide bomber’,” he said – a clear reference to Johnson, who once described Theresa May’s Brexit plan as a “suicide vest”.
Who’s entered the Tory leadership race?
Nominations for the upcoming Tory leadership race will close in the week commencing 10 June 2019, with the contest starting shortly afterwards. But who’s up for the top job?
James Cleverly – junior Brexit minister – new entry
Rory Stewart – international development secretary
Boris Johnson – former Foreign secretary
Michael Gove – Environment secretary
Matt Hancock – Health secretary
Jeremy Hunt – Foreign secretary
Sajid Javid – Home secretary
Andrea Leadsom – Former Leader of the House
Kit Malthouse – Housing minister
Esther McVey – Former Work and Pensions secretary
Dominic Raab – Former Brexit secretary