Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow speaks during a debate before a government no-confidence vote in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday Jan. 16, 2019. Prime Minister Theresa May won a no confidence vote later Wednesday. (Jessica Taylor, UK Parliament via AP)

ORRR-DUHHH: Britain Parliament speaker seeks to calm debate

As a rambunctious Parliament is grappling with the contentious issue, the speaker has his hands full

The speaker of the House of Commons is usually taken for granted, except for those rare moments when Britain is having a legislative meltdown and Parliament gets centre stage.

And for the Brexit crisis, you might say that the current speaker, John Bercow, is made to ORRR-DUHHH.

As a rambunctious Parliament is grappling with the contentious issue, Bercow is trying to stay above the fray even as he plays a major role in shaping the debate.

With his stentorian voice, assertive ways and unapologetic manners, he’s playing a major role shaping the debate over Britain’s troubled withdrawal from the European Union.

But along the way, he has ruffled some feathers in the government of Prime Minister Theresa May. He’s even been compared to the devil by a tabloid newspaper.

READ MORE: Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

The 55-year-old Bercow, who has been speaker since 2009, determines which amendments will be voted on, who will be called upon to speak, and deciding when to use his commanding voice to demand “order.”

Or as he sometimes pronounces it, “ORRR-DUHHH! ORRR-DUHHH!”

Some in the government feel he’s opposed to Brexit, and it doesn’t help that his wife’s car is festooned with an anti-Brexit sticker. Others feel he’s simply determined to preserve Parliament’s power and put the government in its place.

After he was called “Speaker of the Devil” in a front-page headline this week, Bercow refused to apologize for challenging the government.

“My job is not to be a cheerleader for the executive branch,” he said. “My job is to stand up for the rights of the House of Commons.”

The speaker is supposed to impartial and is required to step down from the political party he or she belonged to when elected. The speaker’s primary role is to maintain order, something Bercow does with a certain amount of style.

“The House must calm itself. Zen. Restraint. Patience,” he has said when things threaten to get out of hand. Bercow at times presides over Britain’s august legislators as if they were a bunch of unruly kids who won’t eat their broccoli.

Earlier this year, a former employer accused him of bullying, but Bercow denied the charge.

Gregory Katz, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Two rescued from tipped sailboat near Casa Loma

The two men were quickly brought to shore by a marine rescue crew

New cherry packing facility to open near Ellison Lake this weekend

Despite a lacklustre cherry crop this year, Jealous Fruits is opening its new state-of-the-art packing facility

Petition calling for Kelowna Mountie to be fired, charged nears 350K signatures

Const. Lacey Browning was caught on camera dragging a UBCO student down a hall during a wellness check

PHOTOS: Looking back at Central Okanagan Canada Day celebrations of years past

While there may not be many festivities to look forward to for Canada Day 2020, previous celebrations have been a real treat

Long-range transportation planning around Central Okanagan offers challenges

Work from home has upended traditional traffic patterns

North Okanagan man gives back for Canada Day

Food packages given away to those living on the streets in Vernon

Dog rescued from rocky ledge in Summerland

Penticton Search and Rescue members perform high angle rescue

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

Okanagan mine makes way for industrial project

Council holds a special meeting to rezone property

In photos and video: Colourful Canada Day parade rolls through Sicamous

Patriotic procession allows community to celebrate together while maintaining distance

Okanagan arsonist sentenced to 3 years probation

Arsonist must pay $500 to each party affected, no access to drugs, alcohol or fire starters

Northbound lane of Coquihalla closed after vehicle incident near Hope

A northbound lane is closed just north of the Great Bear Snowshed, according to DriveBC

Most Read