John Bercow

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John Bercow is the Speaker MP for Buckingham. He has been the Member of Parliament for Buckingham since 1997. Until he became Speaker, he sat in the House as a member of the Conservative Party. He served in the Shadow Cabinet under former Conservative leaders Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard.


Bercow signed Early Day Motion 2708 calling for schools to treat with caution creationist literature sent by the religious group 'Truth in Science'.[1]


In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), John Bercow voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks[2].

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report of October 2007[3] had found no good evidence of change since the limit was set in 1990, and hence no new reason for a reduction. However, it acknowledged that this was only one of many factors to be taken into account when legislating, and did not make any recommendations as to how MPs should vote.

Climate Change

In 2006, MPs were asked three questions by the Rough Guide's Mark Ellingham on how seriously they took climate change as politicians and as responsible, active citizens. John Bercow replied:

"Climate change is one of the most important challenges facing the world today. It is vital that, in conjunction with out international partners, we take concrete steps to address climate change. The publication of the Stern Report has highlighted the fact that climate change is not simply an environmental issue, it will have social and economic ramifications. Given my interest in international development, I am particularly concerned about the impact of climate change upon development. I was dismayed to learn that climate change is likely to hit hardest those who have least and will undermine progress towards development."[4]

Animal Testing

In 2006, John Bercow signed Early Day Motion 1850: Animals in Medical Research which noted that "animal research is only permitted where there is no better alternative and that pain and suffering are minimised and balanced against the potential benefit to humans and animals", supported "the building of the new state of the art biomedical research laboratory at Oxford University", condemned "unlawful animal rights extremism, including any violence, harassment or intimidation of those associated with lawful animal research", and supported "the well-regulated use of animals in medical research".[5]

Libel Law Reform

In response to an inquiry from a constituent about his stance on libel law reform and Early Day Motion 423, Bercow wrote:

"I understand your concern regarding the impact of the UK’s libel laws on journalists, doctors and scientists, among others. As Speaker I must remain impartial and therefore cannot sign EDM 423, as you wish. I have however written on your behalf to the Ministry of Justice about the introduction of a Libel Reform Bill and as soon as I receive a reply I will be in touch with you again."[6]



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