Sunday, 22 September, 2019

Chaos in parliament as MPs stage protest over suspension

In this image made from video British lawmakers stage a protest in the House of Commons before prorogation of Parliament in London Tuesday Sept. 10 2019. The British government has formally suspended Parliament sending lawmakers home for five weeks Tearful House of Commons Speaker John Bercow to stand down amid Brexit chaos
Patty Aguilar | 11 September, 2019, 09:25

JOHN BERCOW, the Speaker for the British House of Commons has announced today that he is to stand down after 22 years as a Member of Parliament. If the House votes tonight for an early general election, my tenure as Speaker and MP will end when this Parliament ends.

He will step down on October 31, the day the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the EU.

Holding the position since 2009, Bercow is the longest-serving speaker since the Second World War, and has called "order!" over four parliaments and under four prime ministers.

However, lawmakers opposed to a No-Deal Brexit voted a week ago to seize control of the House agenda, which is usually set by the government, then passed new legislation blocking such an exit.

Though the speaker usually runs unopposed in an election, Leadsom said in the Mail on Sunday that Bercow had "failed" in his role as "a politically impartial, independent umpire of proceedings".

Opposition MPs gave Mr Bercow - who will walk away with a gold-plated £1million non-contributory pension after ten years in the chair - a standing ovation.

Bercow, known for his thundering cries of "Order!".

Protests erupt as Boris Johnson suspends Parliament
Or, in former PM Tony Blair's words , "I personally believe so strongly in Brexit that I would do virtually anything to stop it". He was given a standing ovation from many members of the Lower House as he announced his plan to stand down in the coming weeks.

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UK Labour leader Corbyn: I am ready to fight an election
At a conference of union barons, the Labour leader insisted his party was "ready" and vowed to campaign for a second referendum. Only 28% put the law before the Brexit deadline, while the remaining 21% said they didn't know what he should do.

Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee, reporting from Parliament, said Bercow had cut to the heart of the Brexit issue.

In the speech announcing his plan to resign, Bercow fixed his gaze on the benches where ministers sit and delivered a direct warning to the government: "We degrade this parliament at our peril".

'With bullying claims, his Brexit bias and a willingness to ride roughshod over established procedures, this Speaker has undermined public faith in Parliament'.

"If the House does not so vote, I have concluded that the least disruptive and most democratic course of action would be for me to stand down at the close of business on Thursday, October 31".

In response, the speaker said: "I don't care if you don't like it". Our democracy is the stronger for your being the speaker.

The Prime Minister said the government would use the coming period to continue negotiating an agreement with the European Union, while "preparing for an exit without agreement".

Only 293 members of the House of Commons voted in favor of Johnson's request for early elections, far short of 434 votes required.

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