Claims today Speaker John Bercow ready to quit next year after Brexit is done
John Bercow could quit as Speaker next year after Brexit has been concluded in Parliament, it was claimed today.
Mr Bercow had originally promised to go after nine years - a deadline which expires next week - but said after the snap election a year ago he wanted to continue.
But amid a storm of criticism over allegation he bullied staff and is sexist to female MPs, there are growing calls for the original deadline to stand.
The claim today came as it was revealed MPs prepared to speak up in defence of Mr Bercow were urged to accuse journalists of bullying him.
John Bercow (pictured in the Commons yesterday) could quit as Speaker next year after Brexit has been concluded in Parliament, it was claimed today
Signalling the Speaker"s plans, a source close to Mr Bercow told The Times: "The government would love an inexperienced Speaker in the chair because they know that a new Speaker would initially be heavily reliant on the clerks, who are ""small c"" conservative and instinctively give the benefit of the doubt to the government of the day."
Arch-Bercow critic James Duddridge told the paper Mr Bercow"s "credibility is going to further erode every day that passes beyond June 22".
He added: "Speaker Bercow has already proved himself not to be independent on Brexit. He is a vocal disruptor of all things Brexit against the will of the people."
The revelation came after the BBC"s Newsnight reported on the "lines to take" handed to MPs willing to defend Mr Bercow on TV.
The document included the suggestion: "BBC Newsnight has dedicated a lot of air time to these allegations - surely this is bullying?
"Surely this is bullying and harassment of the Speaker?"
Pressure on Mr Bercow grew further yesterday when a government minister launched an extraordinary attack on him for his "sexist" treatment of women.
Claire Perry said she had decided to make her complaints public after colleagues highlighted Mr Bercow"s "demeaning" approach towards her in the House.
She has written to the Speaker raising concerns that he looks to have a "woman problem" and urging him to "consider his behaviour".
Claire Perry (pictured on the BBC"s Daily Politics yesterday) said she had decided to make her complaints public after colleagues highlighted Mr Bercow"s "demeaning" approach towards her in the House
Mr Bercow has faced allegations of bullying staff and also been accused of branding House of Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom (file) a "stupid woman" in a brutal off-mic rant. He denies wrongdoing
Mr Bercow has faced allegations of bullying staff and also been accused of branding Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom a "stupid woman" in a brutal off-mic rant.
Mr Bercow has denied any wrongdoing.
Ms Perry said the latest incident happened on Tuesday night when she was taking questions from MPs in the chamber.
Arch-Bercow critic James Duddridge (file) said Mr Bercow"s "credibility is going to further erode every day that passes beyond June 22"
She told the BBC"s Daily Politics Mr Bercow kept cutting her answers short and was "quite irascible".
"He does that quite a lot with women on the government benches," Ms Perry said.
"Men and women approached me afterwards to say his behaviour was sexist and demeaning."
Pointing to the previous clash with Mrs Leadsom, Ms Perry insisted Mr Bercow could not allow the impression to arise that he had a "woman problem".
She said she had written to ask Mr Bercow to "consider his behaviour".
During bruising exchanges with Ms Perry on Tuesday, Mr Bercow ordered her to "resume your seat", adding: "I am afraid dilation is not in order today."
Ms Perry hit back: "The last time I talked about dilation, I was in labour."
But Mr Bercow replied: "What is required is a brief answer and a brief question - no dilation."
Mr Bercow was accused of branding Leader of the House Mrs Leadsom a "stupid woman" during an off-mic rant while presiding over the Commons last month.
Following an outcry, he told the House that he had used the word "stupid" in a "muttered aside" during a row over business scheduling.
However, he stopped short of apologising and insisted he would continue to speak out frankly when he felt ministers were behaving badly.