Students Staff

23 June 2009

Essex graduate new speaker

Colchester Campus

John Bercow

Essex graduate John Bercow has been elected Speaker of the House of Commons. 

Mr Bercow won 322 votes compared with fellow Conservative Sir George Young's 271 in the third and final round of secret voting in the election which took place after the resignation of Michael Martin.

Mr Bercow graduated in 1985 from Essex with a First Class Honours in Government. Professor Anthony King, who taught him, remembers him well: "When he was a student here, he was very right-wing, pretty stroppy, and very good. He was an outstanding student, who richly deserved the first-class degree that he got."

From 1986 to 1987 John served as National Chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students, and in 1987 he was appointed by Norman Tebbit as Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Collegiate Forum to head the campaign for student support in the run-up to the 1987 general election.

He became a Conservative councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth in 1986 and was deputy leader of the 21 strong Conservative Opposition Group. At the time John was the youngest deputy group leader in the country. He stood as Conservative candidate in Motherwell South in 1987 and for Bristol South in 1992. He was elected as Member of Parliament for Buckingham in May 1997. He has worked across a range of areas including Education & Employment, Home Affairs, Work and Pensions and International Development.

In November 1998 John Bercow was given the award of Backbencher to Watch in The Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards. In February 2005, in a ballot of his parliamentary colleagues, he won the Channel Four/Hansard Society Political Award for Opposition MP of the Year for 2005.

Mr Bercow will be in the chair for business in the Commons today with his first challenge being to establish his authority over the House. Elected on a platform of radical reform, declaring himself the "clean break candidate”, there will be considerable pressure on this Essex graduate to deliver on his promises and help put in place new procedures and systems to restore public trust in Parliament.


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