John Simon Bercow is a British former politician who was Speaker of the House of Commons from 2009 to 2019, and Member of Parliament (MP) for Buckingham between 1997 and 2019. A member of the Conservative Party prior to becoming Speaker, he was the first MP since Selwyn Lloyd in 1971 to be elected Speaker without having been a Deputy Speaker. After resigning as Speaker in 2019 and opting not to seek re-election as MP for Buckingham in the 2019 general election, Bercow left Parliament. In 2021, he joined the Labour Party but was suspended in 2022.
Bercow was a councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth from 1986 to 1990 and unsuccessfully contested Parliamentary seats in the 1987 and 1992 general elections, before being elected for Buckingham in 1997. Promoted to the Shadow cabinet in 2001, he held posts under Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard. In November 2002, Bercow resigned over a dispute concerning his support for the Adoption and Children Act 2002, but returned a year later, only to be dismissed from the Shadow Cabinet in 2004. Having initially been strongly associated with the right-wing faction of his party, his views shifted; by 2007, there were rumours that he would defect to the Labour Party.
On the resignation of Michael Martin in June 2009, Bercow stood successfully in the election to replace him as Speaker. As Speaker, he was obliged to leave the Conservative Party and remain as an independent for the duration of his tenure. He was re-elected unopposed at the commencements of the Parliaments in 2010, 2015 and 2017. This made him the first Speaker since the Second World War to have been elected four times, as well as the first since then to have served alongside four Prime Ministers. In September 2019, Bercow declared that he would stand down as Commons Speaker and MP on 31 October; he remained Speaker until being appointed to the Manor of Northstead on 4 November 2019.
In 2014, Bercow was appointed Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire. In July 2017, he was appointed Chancellor of the University of Essex, stepping down from this role in November 2021. In January 2020, he became part-time professor of politics at Royal Holloway, University of London.
In 2022, an independent Commons complaints body found Bercow to have persistently bullied staff, sworn at them over the course of more than a decade, and at one time made an undisclosed discriminatory remark. The body concluded that it would have recommended Bercow's expulsion had he still been an MP, and that he should never be permitted a pass to the Parliamentary estate. The Labour Party subsequently suspended him.
As of 2023, he is the only living former Speaker of the House of Commons.