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John Bercow's Biography

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John Bercow was born on 19 January 1963, the son of a minicab driver, Charles Bercow.

Bercow attended Finchley Manorhill School, and the University of Essex where he gained a First Class Honours degree in Government in 1985.

As a teenager, John Bercow was a top tennis prospect and went on to qualify as a tennis coach.

He had also been very right-wing and at 18 became secretary of the controversial Monday Club, although he resigned a couple of years later, and later in life called for Tory MPs to be banned from being members of the Monday Club.

In 1986, Bercow was chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students.

He had a spell at Hambros Bank, and then worked in public affairs and lobbying, and John Bercow also maintained his interest in politics.

He became the youngest ever deputy leader of Lambeth's Conservative group, and stood for the Conservative Party at Motherwell South in 1987 and Bristol South in 1992.

In 1996 John Bercow hired a helicopter for £1,000 in order to have a stab at being the Tory candidate at the safer Conservative seats of Surrey Heath and Buckingham (the two selection meetings were on the same night).

He successfully became the candidate for Buckingham and in May 1997 was elected the MP for that constituency.

A year later, Bercow was named Backbencher to Watch in The Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards.

John Bercow was an adviser to Jonathan Aitken and also worked for Virginia Bottomley.

In 2002 he married Sally Illman, who was reportedly a Labour supporter.

His marriage coincided with his acknowledgement of a shift in his views from the Thatcherite right to the political centre.

The Guardian quoted a shadow cabinet minister as saying: "The problem with John Bercow is that he discovered sex and New Labour at the same time."

In September 2007, John Bercow was appointed to lead a review of services for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs and two months later was appointed to the Speaker's Conference on Parliamentary Representation.

In 2009, John Bercow became the Speaker in Parliament, after finishing first in all three rounds of voting and winning the final poll with 322 votes to Sir George Young's 271 votes.

On 4 August 2009, The Telegraph reported that John Bercow was having his grace-and-favour apartment in the Palace of Westminster refurbished at a cost of £20,000 to the taxpayer.

In 2011, John Bercow's wife Sally Bercow became a housemate on Celebrity Big Brother.

On 6 February 2017, John Bercow made a noteworthy statement in the House of Commons, in which he expressed his opposition to the US President Donald Trump addressing the UK Parliament.

On 9 September 2019, John Bercow gave an emotional speech in the House of Commons announcing his resignation as Speaker if Parliament votes for an early election.

In January 2020, Lord Lisvane, who had served as Clerk of the House, submitted a formal complaint about John Bercow to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

In March 2022, the Independent Expert Panel said "his behaviour fell very far below that which the public has a right to expect" from an MP. It also said his evidence showed he had been "a serial liar".

John Bercow once entered the Guinness Book of Records for asking the longest-ever written question of a minister (10,195 words).

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