Bercow basks in spotlight of photographers after announcing plan to quit as Speaker

A GRINNING John Bercow stepped out with his wife Sally today in his first public appearance since announcing last night that he intended to stand down as Speaker of the House of Commons.

The Speaker of the House of Commons was at Westminster Abbey at a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown. The service was being held to remember Mr Ashdown, who died at the age of 77 from bladder cancer last October. Mr Bercow appeared in his element as photographers took pictures of the Speaker and his wife as they arrived at the Abbey this afternoon.

Mr Bercow announced he will step down from his role when the current Parliament comes to an end.

He told Parliament his 10-year “tenure” was nearing its end.

In-keeping with his style stewardship of the role of Speaker, Mr Bercow ave a long address in the Commons yesterday, in which he said holding position had been his “greatest honour and privilege”.

Former Labour minister Harriet Harman confirmed earlier she will stand for Commons Speaker after she praised John Bercow’s controversial style in the post.

Ms Harman told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is the job of the Speaker to make sure that Parliament, by its majority, has its say, and I think that’s what John Bercow has sought to do.”

John Bercow grinned as he arrived at Westminster Abbey

John Bercow grinned as he arrived at Westminster Abbey (Image: getty)

She added: “The Speaker doesn’t vote, doesn’t take sides in debates.

“But the Speaker is not neutral as between Parliament and the executive.

“The Speaker has to be on Parliament’s side and stand up for Parliament.

“The Speaker cannot but allow Parliament to have its say on what it wants to do.”

READ MORE: Johnson’s revenge: Boris plots to scuttle Bercow’s elevation to Lords

The Speaker announced his resignation yesterday

The Speaker announced his resignation yesterday (Image: getty)

On Mr Bercow’s stance, Ms Harman said: “He has been right to say to ministers ‘you have got to come to the House, you have got to account for yourself’.”

Ms Harman, who was a prominent Remain campaigner in the EU referendum, said she would be able stand back from political issues if she became Speaker.

She said “I think I would be a champion for Parliament.

“The relationship between the Parliament and the public is very difficult at the moment and I think a really confident, positive voice, speaking about the importance of Parliament with the public, is necessary at this time.”

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The Speaker is now tipped to appear on I'm A Celebrity

The Speaker is now tipped to appear on I'm A Celebrity (Image: getty)

The couple attended a service for former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown

The couple attended a service for former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown (Image: getty)

Meanwhile, Coral bookmakers have offered odds as short as 4/5 for the outgoing Speaker to appear on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

John Hill of Coral said: “John Bercow will be looking for a new challenge once he departs his role as the Speaker of the House of Commons and our betting suggests that could come in the jungle on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.”

While Mr Bercow moves on to a new challenge, Coral has also offered the latest odds on the next Commons Speaker, with a Labour replacement touted.

Mr Hill added: “Sir Lindsay Hoyle is the odds-on favourite to replace Bercow in the House of Commons, with Harriet Harman and Rosie Winterton both also prominent in the betting.”