John Bercow has become one of the most entertaining characters to emerge from the chaos of Brexit. (Reuters: Andrew Winning)
If you don’t know his name, you certainly have heard his catchphrase.
- The world could watch John Bercow deliver the result of the withdrawal agreement vote for the last time on Saturday
- The vote will determine whether the UK’s departure from the EU is pushed back to May 22
- Regardless of the outcome, it’s likely the Speaker’s well-articulated words will become internet folklore
“Order,” bellows through the UK House of Commons from the mouth of John Bercow, parliament’s Speaker and the person with the unenviable, and sometimes impossible, task of stopping MPs from shouting at one another.
Mr Bercow has become one of the most entertaining characters to emerge from the chaos of Brexit, winning over fans with his wordy quips and theatrical articulation.
His heavy emphasis of the second syllable of the word “order” has become so iconic, toddlers are mimicking him.
But tomorrow might be the last time this cult figure is given the global stage his powerful diaphragm demands.
Tweet from Dave Shaw: Is it ok that my nearly 2 year old daughter could take over from John Bercow?
While he will obviously live on as Speaker, this could be the final time the world watches as he delivers the result of a vote to a captive international audience, watching on with the intensity of a World Cup final penalty shootout.
The path has been cleared for MPs to debate and vote on the EU Withdrawal Agreement on Friday, local time.
Bercow said the Brexit motion tabled by the Government for tomorrow is “new” and “substantially different” from the previous ones.
MPs will be able to put forward their changes to the motion and, if Mr Bercow accepts these amendments, he will announce these at the start of the debate.
At the end of the debate, MPs will be able to vote — and Mr Bercow will be once again reading out a high-drama result.
Parliament will vote on the 585-page withdrawal agreement, which sets out the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU.
If this is approved, the requirement would be met to push the exit back to May 22, rather than bombing out on April 12.
But, as pointed out by the BBC, only one part of the final deal is being voted on, being the Withdrawal Agreement.
The second part is the Political Declaration, which outlines future ties between the UK and the EU, which is also part of the divorce deal.
The house will either need to pass this second part at a later date, or amend the law so it isn’t needed.
A parliamentary icon
Regardless of the results read out by the Speaker, it’s likely his well-articulated words will become internet folklore.
Mr Bercow’s pronunciations of certain names, for example, have inspired epic musical mash-ups.
Tweet from Rhodri Marsden: I’m now so obsessed with Bercow saying “Mr Peter Bone” that I’ve spent a period of time setting it to the opening of Beethoven’s 5th. Brexit is literally driving me mad.
Video tweet from Rhodri Marsden: In my replies today, a number of people have expressed their delight at Bercow saying the name “Bambos Charalambous”
Much has been said of his signature speaker style, with many on social media suggesting Mr Bercow “loves the drama” that unfolds in the House of Commons.
In an article for The Financial Times, Henry Mance postulates that Mr Bercow’s iconic manner of speaking was informed by the Jane Austen novels he read in his 20s, when he reportedly began mimicking the speaking style.
His put-downs for MPs speaking out of turn have become legendary, however, he was forced to apologise for one such smackdown earlier this week.
He criticised Greg Hands on Tuesday, saying he “was once a whip, he wasn’t a very good whip, it would be better if he’d keep quiet”.
Mr Bercow later said he’d happily apologise “if I have caused offence” to the MP.
Tweet from Charlie Proctor: John Bercow loves the drama as he tells Greg Hands he wasn’t a very good whip.
In October, the BBC reported that Mr Bercow was facing calls for his resignation following a report of bullying in the House of Commons.
The report said bullying and harassment claims were not being properly dealt with by the house, due to a culture of “acquiescence and silence”.
Mr Bercow called for an independent body to investigate claims of bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct.
“There must be zero tolerance of sexual harassment or bullying here at Westminster or elsewhere,” Mr Bercow told parliament a year before.
It was later reported the Speaker planned on seeing out Brexit and planned on leaving the position in June.
But regardless of the date of his departure from Parliament or the outcome of Friday’s vote, there will still be plenty of Bercow banter to satisfy the hunger of his fanbase, formed amid the cacophony of the House of Commons.