The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, addressed Laws students at Strode’s College, Egham, on Wednesday 29th September 2011.
In his speech, he explained his role as Speaker and commented upon the hard work that is undertaken by MPs of all political parties. In particular, he expressed how he was at odds with the press criticisms of Member of Parliament being involved in politics to serve their own interests. He pointed out that the journalists themselves sometimes get involved in morally unacceptable activities (example of phone hacking etc). His basic argument was that while there have been some MPs who have brought themselves and Parliament into disrepute, the vast majority of MPs work for the good of society – seeking to improve, welfare, education etc. His clear message was that the motives of MPs should be praised.
He responded to questions from students on a variety of topics including democracy. Amusingly, he also responded to one students concern that he had argued with his wife over appearing in Big Brother and even flown off to India to avoid watching her. He laughed at this view and explained that he had doubts about her appearing in Big Brother, but she is a person in her own right who has a right to be a local Labour candidate or appear in Big Brother. He rejected the view that a woman should be prevented from pursuing her own interests, simply because of the position of her husband. He also asserted that the story of him fleeing to India was completely false. The trip to India had been arranged completely independent of his wife’s appearance in Big Brother and over six months before. He gave this story as an example of the press creating stories that had no basis of truth.