John Bercow has announced that he will stand down as Speaker of the UK's House of Commons by October 31 -- the day Britain is set to leave the European Union.
It was the latest bombshell Brexit news and could have implications for Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Traditionally, the speaker of the House of Commons is not a household name. But Bercow is not a low-wattage character.
His colorful ties and even more colorful oratory helped him become a made-for-YouTube star, delighting fans around the world with his rhetorical flourishes. His memorable put-downs — telling lawmakers to “take up yoga” or go on “therapeutic training” courses — have gone viral. His best moments have inspired memes and mash-ups.
He has also played a central role in the clash between the executive and the legislature at a pivotal time in Britain’s history — and the candidates running to replace him will have to indicate whether they intend to emulate or avoid his model.
Bercow’s supporters say he is one of the most reforming speakers in modern times, and that his efforts have given backbench lawmakers a bigger voice.
“Throughout my time as speaker I have sought to increase the relative authority of this legislature for which I will make absolutely no apology to anyone, anywhere, at anytime,” Bercow said Monday in an emotional address, with his wife, Sally, looking on from the gallery.