Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow speaks during a debate before a government no-confidence vote in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday Jan. 16, 2019. Prime Minister Theresa May won a no confidence vote later Wednesday. (Jessica Taylor, UK Parliament via AP)

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow speaks during a debate before a government no-confidence vote in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday Jan. 16, 2019. Prime Minister Theresa May won a no confidence vote later Wednesday. (Jessica Taylor, UK Parliament via AP)

ORRR-DUHHH: Britain Parliament speaker seeks to calm debate

As a rambunctious Parliament is grappling with the contentious issue, the speaker has his hands full

The speaker of the House of Commons is usually taken for granted, except for those rare moments when Britain is having a legislative meltdown and Parliament gets centre stage.

And for the Brexit crisis, you might say that the current speaker, John Bercow, is made to ORRR-DUHHH.

As a rambunctious Parliament is grappling with the contentious issue, Bercow is trying to stay above the fray even as he plays a major role in shaping the debate.

With his stentorian voice, assertive ways and unapologetic manners, he’s playing a major role shaping the debate over Britain’s troubled withdrawal from the European Union.

But along the way, he has ruffled some feathers in the government of Prime Minister Theresa May. He’s even been compared to the devil by a tabloid newspaper.

READ MORE: Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

The 55-year-old Bercow, who has been speaker since 2009, determines which amendments will be voted on, who will be called upon to speak, and deciding when to use his commanding voice to demand “order.”

Or as he sometimes pronounces it, “ORRR-DUHHH! ORRR-DUHHH!”

Some in the government feel he’s opposed to Brexit, and it doesn’t help that his wife’s car is festooned with an anti-Brexit sticker. Others feel he’s simply determined to preserve Parliament’s power and put the government in its place.

After he was called “Speaker of the Devil” in a front-page headline this week, Bercow refused to apologize for challenging the government.

“My job is not to be a cheerleader for the executive branch,” he said. “My job is to stand up for the rights of the House of Commons.”

The speaker is supposed to impartial and is required to step down from the political party he or she belonged to when elected. The speaker’s primary role is to maintain order, something Bercow does with a certain amount of style.

“The House must calm itself. Zen. Restraint. Patience,” he has said when things threaten to get out of hand. Bercow at times presides over Britain’s august legislators as if they were a bunch of unruly kids who won’t eat their broccoli.

Earlier this year, a former employer accused him of bullying, but Bercow denied the charge.

Gregory Katz, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The next welding program being offered at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus will be tuition-free thanks to federal funding. (Thompson Rivers University photo)
So you want to be a welder?

TRU Williams Lake offering tuition-free program

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

Williams Lake RCMP are asking the public for assistance locating Marion Louise Billy. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake RCMP seek woman wanted for theft, weapon possession

RCMP released the information Thursday, May 6

Audrey McKinnon was officially named the NDP nominee for the federal riding of Cariboo-Prince George. (Twitter)
Audrey McKinnon confirmed as Cariboo Prince-George federal NDP nominee

The nomination comes during speculation the federal government

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read