Bercow's last swipe at Brexiteers: Speaker 'gaming system' so Remainers choose successor

In this image made from video British lawmakers stage a protest in the House of Commons before prorogation of Parliament in London Tuesday Sept. 10 2019. The British government has formally suspended Parliament sending lawmakers home for five weeks

In this image made from video British lawmakers stage a protest in the House of Commons before prorogation of Parliament in London Tuesday Sept. 10 2019. The British government has formally suspended Parliament sending lawmakers home for five weeks

"I have sought to increase the relative authority of this legislature, for which I will make absolutely no apology", Bercow told MPs. His hilarious interventions have made the last three years not only bearable but frankly enjoyable.

Footage captured from inside the chamber by West Lothian MP Hannah Bardell shows members singing a rendition of "Scots Wha Hae" from the SNP benches when speaker John Bercow left the chamber to begin the prorogation process.

Over the past several weeks, the speaker bent parliamentary rules, giving MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit the chance to pass legislation blocking such an eventuality. If, as expected, lawmakers reject the government's attempt to call an election, he said he would quit on October 31 - the Brexit deadline that lawmakers voted last week to postpone.

In a speech, he said: "At the 2017 election, I promised my wife and children that it would be my last". This is a pledge that I intend to keep'.

A Government source said they would be "hugely surprised" if Bercow was elevated to the upper chamber, as is customary for speakers leaving office.

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Opposition MPs gave Mr Bercow - who will walk away with a gold-plated £1million non-contributory pension after ten years in the chair - a standing ovation.

"As far as the Conservatives are concerned, I think he appreciates that extension is extinction if we're not careful", he added. "And whatever you do when you finally step down from Parliament, you do so with the thanks of a very large number of people".

Jeremy Corbyn said that the charismatic speaker had "totally changed the way in which the job has been done", while Labour MP David Lammy described the speaker as "a true protector of our democracy".

Bercow's retirement will take effect either on Monday night if the current session of Parliament is ended without a successful vote to hold a snap general election, or, in the case of a snap election, on October 31, after the debates surrounding the new Parliament's legislative agenda.

He was also praised by Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit coordinator, who tweeted that he was a "driven Speaker and gifted orator but above all the keeper of the great British parliamentary tradition".

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