Speaker Bercow: “You have bestowed upon me the greatest honour in my professional life”

June 23, 2009 at 12:03 am Leave a comment


speakerbercowelection
John Bercow was elected Speaker of the House of Commons yesterday.

In his first words to the House from the Speaker’s chair he pledged to be impartial and paid tribute to his wife and family.

“It is my first pleasurable duty to thank on behalf of us all Alan Williams for the magnificent and good humoured way in which he has conducted these proceedings.

It has been a very long night and those who are expecting a customarily lengthy diatribe will be sorely disappointed.

I should like to thank and pay a heartfelt tribute to all of the candidates who stood in this election.

It has been a constructive debate that we have enjoyed over the last few weeks.

I confess that I have the highest regard for all of the other candidates – each brought something to the occasion, each had a contribution to make and I can honestly say that each made that contribution in the most sincere and constructive fashion to the great and continuing benefit of this House.

Colleagues, you will understand that my thoughts at this time are with my family, my wife Sally and our three young children Oliver, Freddie and Jemima, not to mention my beloved mother who has been keenly interested in the proceedings.

Colleagues you have just bestowed upon me the greatest honour that I have enjoyed in my professional life.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the confidence that you have placed in me and I am keenly aware of the obligations into which I now enter.

I want just to say this about the responsibility of the office of Speaker.

I said only a few hours ago in my speech that if elected the Speaker has a responsibility immediately and permanently to cast aside all of his or her political views.

I said it and I meant it. My commitment to this House is to be completely impartial between members of one political party and another. That is what it is about.

I will do my best faithfully and honourably and effectively to serve this House in the period ahead.

We have faced quite the most testing time which has left many members feeling very sore and vulnerable but large sections of the public also feel angry and disappointed.

I continue to believe the vast majority of Members of this House are upright, decent, honourable people who have come into politics not to feather their nests but because they have heeded the call of public service.

For such people I shall always have the highest respect and it is on that basis, in that spirit, and with that conviction, that I shall seek to discharge my obligations in this House which I regard, as I have said, as the greatest privilege of my professional life to occupy.”

photo: parliament.uk

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