Nobody loves a lecture from the Speaker more than John Bercow | John Crace

This pompous and self-regarding speech showed that – despite often being right – he is a hard man to like

Do not go gentle into that good night. John Bercow may have announced he will be standing down as Speaker at the close of proceedings in the House of Commons on 31 October, but there was never any chance he would take Dylan Thomas’s poem as anything other than a direct instruction. In his remaining time in office, he is hell-bent on taking no prisoners and in the sixth annual Bingham lecture, delivered to an audience of lawyers, Bercow put the government on notice.

For someone who has so often been on the right side of the angels in allowing parliament to hold the executive account and in championing the rights of women and race equality, the Speaker can be a hard man to love. Not just because of the allegations of abuse and loss of temper towards his staff, but also because of his total self-regard. No one could possibly think more of Bercow than Bercow. He is a man who looks in a mirror and falls in love at first sight.

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