JOHN Bercow was mocked by the Boris Johnson for the “longest retirement since Sinatra” as he bowed out as House of Commons speaker.
Mr Johnson used Bercow’s final Prime Minister’s Questions to pay a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Speaker, who has repeatedly clashed with Tories over what they see as his pro-Remain bias.
Boris Johnson in the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s QuestionsCredit: AFP or licensors
John Bercow was in the Speaker’s chair for the final time in Prime Minister’s QuestionsCredit: UK Parliament
A Tory plot to oust him days before the 2015 General Election failed while this Parliament has seen run-ins with many senior Conservatives.
The Prime Minister alluded to Bercow’s teenage tennis prowess as he thanked the Speaker, who fought back tears as he addressed MPs before his final day in the chair tomorrow.
“As befits a distinguished former Wimbledon competitor, you have sat up there in your high chair not just as an umpire ruthlessly adjudicating on the finer points of parliamentary procedure with your trademark Tony Montana scowl,” said Mr Johnson.
“Not just as a commentator offering your own opinions on the rallies you are watching, sometimes acerbic and sometimes kindly, but above all as a player in your own right.
“Peppering every part of the chamber with your own thoughts and opinions, like some uncontrollable tennis ball machine, delivering a series of literally unplayable, unreturnable volleys and smashes.”
He added Mr Bercow has done “more than anyone since Stephen Hawking to stretch time in this particular session” to aid backbenchers before joking it was the “longest retirement since Frank Sinatra”.
The Prime Minister did, however, also describe Bercow as a “great servant of this Parliament and of this House of Commons”.
He refused to stay on as Speaker for a few extra daysCredit: AFP or licensors
Mr Bercow got emotional as he paid tributes to his family and staff ahead of his 31 October exit on what would have been Britain’s last day in the EU.
His voice cracked as he thanked his family for their “support, stoicism and fortitude through thick and thin… I will never forget it.”
Mr Bercow has refused to stay on as Speaker for two extra days – to boost the chances of a Remainer ally replacing him in the powerful role before the general election.
Remainer MPs want to elect Mr Bercow’s replacement before we go to the polls because they fear that leaving it until afterwards would risk a Brexiteer being elected by a Tory majority Commons.
The election to replace Mr Bercow is due to take place on Monday.
But Tory MPs have asked him to stay on for an extra two days to stop the bizarre scenario of appointing a Speaker for just one day – before Parliament shuts down for the election campaign on Tuesday.
Tories fear that going ahead with the Speaker election could help the veteran Labour MP and arch-Remainer Harriet Harman win the race to replace him.
Mr Bercow’s spokesman confirmed to The Sun today that he will step down as Speaker as planned tomorrow.
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That will force the election for his replacement to go ahead on Monday.
The new Speaker will take the green chair for just one day, enabling them to a life-long gold-plated pension even if they aren’t re-elected when MPs return in December.
Veteran Labour MP and arch-Remainer Harriet Harman could replace Speaker John BercowCredit: PA:Press Association
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