MPs pay tribute to John Bercow at his final Prime Minister's Questions

30 October 2019, 12:52

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Celebrating John Bercow's "ten tumultuous years" in the green chair Boris Johnson paid tribute to the Commons Speaker at his final Prime Minister's Questions.

Boris Johnson opened Prime Minister's Questions by praising Commons Speaker John Bercow.

The Prime Minister said after "ten tumultuous years" it was the Speaker's final PMQs.

Mr Johnson likened the speaker to a Wimbledon umpire "ruthlessly adjudicating on the finer points of Parliamentary procedure, with your trademark Tony Montana scowl."

The PM said Mr Bercow has been a "player" in his own right, "peppering every part of the chamber with your own thoughts and opinions, like some tennis ball machine."

John Bercow broke into a grin as Boris Johnson paid him a compliment
John Bercow broke into a grin as Boris Johnson paid him a compliment. Picture: Parliament TV

Mr Johnson said the Speaker delivered a "series of, literally, unplayable" and "unreturnable" volleys and smashes.

To a chorus of rousing cheers, Mr Johnson said there was "no doubt" the Speaker had been a "great servant of this Parliament and of this House of Commons."

Both the Conservative and Labour leaders highlighted the Speaker's efforts to widen access to Parliament and to modernise the processes and procedures.

The Labour leader also used his opening speech to have his say on the subject of John Bewcow's retirement.

Jeremy Corbyn said he was sure he would be indulged for a moment while he paid tribute.

Mr Corbyn said "our democracy" is "stronger" for the way the Speaker had sought to "reform this House of Commons, and our democracy is the stronger for the way you have done it."

He said Mr Bercow had "given real power to backbenchers" helped to open up the number of emergency debates.

Boris Johnson paid compliment to the Speaker at his final Prime Minister's Questions
Boris Johnson paid compliment to the Speaker at his final Prime Minister's Questions. Picture: Parliament TV

"You've stood up for Parliament when it has to be stood up for," the Labour leader said, thanking the Speaker for his work over the last decade.

On the subject of Parliament, Mr Corbyn said the Speaker had "taken it away from being a gentleman's club that happens to be in a Royal palace, to being a genuinely democratic institution.

Watch both of the speeches from the party leaders in the videos on this page.

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