Government distances itself from attempt to remove John Bercow

The government has insisted it will not interfere in an attempt by backbench MPs to remove the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, who came under fresh attack this weekend after a video emerged in which he admitted voting to remain in last year’s referendum.

Bercow irritated some backbenchers last week when he publicly vetoed the idea of Donald Trump addressing both houses of parliament in Westminster Hall, with an outspoken statement saying that the Commons must oppose “racism and sexism”.

His intervention was regarded as grandstanding by Downing Street, which insists there was never any plan to invite Trump to address MPs.

This weekend the Sunday Telegraph obtained a copy of a video in which he told students at Reading University, “Personally I voted to remain. I thought it was better to stay in the European Union than not.” He went on to say that the “untruths” spoken during the referendum and the “racist sentiment” whipped up by some parts of the Brexit campaign did not invalidate the result.

The website of the House of Commons states “the Speaker is the chief officer and highest authority of the House of Commons and must remain politically impartial at all times … therefore, on election the new Speaker must resign from their political party and remain separate from political issues even in retirement”.

David Lidington, the leader of the House of Commons, admitted there would be strong reaction to Bercow’s remarks and said the…

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