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Speaker Biography

Rt Hon John Bercow

Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons
From 1986 to 1987, John served as National Chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students, and in 1987 he was appointed by Norman Tebbit as Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Collegiate Forum to head the campaign for student support in the run-up to the 1987 general election.

He became a Conservative councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth in 1986 (until 1990) and serving from 1987 to 1989 as deputy leader of the 21 strong Conservative Opposition Group. At the time John was the youngest deputy group leader in the country. He stood as Conservative candidate in Motherwell South in 1987 and for Bristol South in 1992. 1n 1995, John was appointed Special Adviser to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and later served as special Adviser to the Secretary of State for National Heritage.

In June 1999, he was appointed Front Bench Spokesman for Education & Employment. In July 2000, he was appointed Front Bench Spokesman for Home Affairs. In September 2001, he was appointed Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. From July 2002 to November 2002, he was Shadow Minister for Work & Pensions. From November 2003 to September 2004, he was Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.

He has been a member of the International Development Select Committee since November 2004. He is co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Burma, vice-Chair of the All Party Groups on the Prevention of Genocide, Africa and Sudan. He is also Secretary of the All Party Group on Human Rights. In July 2005, John established the All Party Group on Brain Tumours to raise awareness of issues surrounding brain tumour care.

In September 2007, John was appointed by Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, to lead a review of services for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. The final report of the Review was published in July 2008.

John was appointed to the Speaker’s Conference on Parliamentary Representation in November 2008. The Conference has been asked to ‘consider, and make recommendations for rectifying, the disparity between the representation of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people in the House of Commons and their representation in the UK population at large’. The Conference has until the end of the Parliament to conduct its inquiries.

In November 1998, John was given the award of Backbencher to Watch in The Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards. In February 2005, in a ballot of his parliamentary colleagues, he won the Channel Four/Hansard Society Political Award for Opposition MP of the Year for 2005. In December 2005, John was voted the Backbencher of the Year in The House Magazine awards. John was named Health/International Champion of the Year at the Charity Champion Awards 2007.

His most recent publications include, 'Incoming Assets: why Tories should change policy on immigration and asylum' (Social Market Foundation, October 2005) and 'Promote Freedom or Protect Oppressors: the choice at the UN Review Summit' (Foreign Policy Centre, September 2005).