Strategic observation

News Analysis: Speaker Bercow holds safest House of Commons seat in Britain

2017-05-14 00:07:05 (Beijing Time)         English.news.cn

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LONDON, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Political campaign managers are busy targeting winnable seats, or talking about safe seats in the weeks before Britain's snap general election on June 8.

One man with an almost cast-iron guarantee of returning to the House of Commons next month is John Bercow, the Speaker.

He chairs meetings in the famous parliamentary chamber, chanting those famous words Order! Order! And has become famous for his schoolmaster-like admonishments of MPs behaving badly during debates.

By a quirky convention adopted by the main parties in British politics, the Speaker is not challenged in elections.

As political expert Professor Jon Tonge from the University of Liverpool told Xinhua: "I don't think Bercow should be challenged. He's the Speaker, above the party political fray, so he can't stand (in the election) for a party. As such, I think it is only fair that parties do not contest the seat."

There had been some media speculation that the Liberal Democrats would break with the convention, but when the deadline for nominations closed Thursday there was no name put forward by them.

Although Conservative Bercow will face three rivals on June 8, there are no candidates being fielded by the main opposition Labour Party or the Liberal Democrats.

A UKIP candidate is challenging Bercow, along with a Green Party member and an independent candidate.

Even before being elected Speaker in 2009, Bercow was the holder of a safe Conservative Seat.

In the 2010 election, he was challenged by UKIP, who do not recognise the convention. Founder-member Nigel Farage sought to unseat the man referred to as "Mister Speaker", only to come third.

In that election he faced 10 rivals, including the Monster Raving Loony Party candidate. This year's election marks Bercow's 20th anniversary as an MP, and the 30th anniversary of his first bid to become an MP in 1987.

It would take a political earthquake to halt Bercow's return to the Palace of Westminster after the election.

But one thing he can't yet be sure about is whether he will retain his job as Speaker of the House.

A few days after the election, MPs return to the Commons, and their first task will be to elect the Speaker. Only then will Bercow be assured of occupying the famous Speaker's chair.

Earlier this year, a failed attempt was launched by MPs to oust Bercow as Speaker after a run-in with some politicians claiming he was not impartial. That came soon after he faced criticism for vetoing an address by U.S. President Donald Trump to both Houses of Parliament during a proposed state visit later this year.