Students Staff

04 December 2009

Speaker fondly remembers time at Essex

Colchester Campus

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow MP praised the "fantastic team of lecturers and tutors" who taught him at the University during a return visit to the Colchester campus. During a public talk at the University, Mr Bercow spoke fondly of his time at Essex. "I had a fantastic time here," he told the packed audience. "Essex has one of the most outstanding Government Departments in the country. I came here to learn and I did."

Mr Bercow, who graduated in 1985 from Essex with a First Class Honours in Government, said his time the University taught him to think more deeply about all aspects of politics and to consider other people's arguments and points of view.

Mr Bercow was elected Speaker of the House of Commons in June on a platform of radical reform, declaring himself the "clean break candidate". Since his appointment, he has supported calls for reform of the Commons and to increase public engagement with parliament in the wake of the expenses scandal. He hit the headlines earlier this month for abandoning part of the Speaker's traditional dress at the State Opening of Parliament.

During the talk with leading political expert Professor Anthony King, of the University's Department of Government, Mr Bercow criticised the amount of "braying and heckling" by MPs in Parliament, claiming it allowed backbenchers less time to get their issues discussed in the House and offered a poor view to the public of how MPs tackled serious issues.

As for his role, he stressed: "The Speaker should not be shrouded in mystery and should instead be out engaging with the public to start to create a relationship of trust between the public and Parliament."

An audio recording of Mr Bercow's talk can be accessed by clicking on one of the links below:

mms:// (Windows Media Audio file)
mms:// (MP3 file)

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