Is Bercow still obligated to perform his duties representing his constituency in Buckingham while he is speaker?

Does he still get to vote on matters, or is someone else appointed or elected to replace him?

In the US only we see him in his role as speaker.

I compare this to Pelosi in the US who is still very active representing both her constituency and her party in the house. Her interests align very closely with the democratic party and the people of San Francisco; she is usually reelected by overwhelming margins.

2 Answers 2


Does he still get to vote on matters, or is someone else appointed or elected to replace him?

Neither. By convention:

  • The Speaker does not vote, unless there is a tie, in which case they vote according to a fixed formula.
  • The Speaker is not a member of any party (but the vast majority of the time, the Speaker is a former member of one of the major parties).
  • The Speaker is an MP, and therefore subject to all of the normal electoral processes. They still represent their constituency, albeit in a non-partisan fashion.
  • The Speaker keeps their post at least until dissolution of Parliament. If the Speaker wishes to remain for longer than that, they run as "The Speaker seeking re-election" on the ballot (instead of a political party). Depending on the circumstances, this election may or may not be seriously contested. For example, Bercow has recently run against UKIP and the Green Party, but not against Labour.
  • Otherwise, the Speaker will typically be elevated to the House of Lords, and remain nonpartisan.
  • The Speaker is not analogous to Nancy Pelosi. In particular, they do not set the legislative agenda as Pelosi does; that is the Government's job. Or rather, it is supposed to be the Government's job, but we live in strange times.

It's a good question.

I wanted to comment on Kevin's very good answer but I am not yet allowed to do that. My understanding is that the Speaker is elected as an MP unchallenged in their constituency, by convention. So the other main parties do not stand candidates against the Speaker in any general election. This makes sense, because the Speaker does not act as a normal MP in the House with regard to voting etc, so there is no need to count them as an MP to be defeated in the parliamentary arithmetic. Their existence is "baked in" to (or out of) any calculations about majority etc. I do always think it is a bit odd that if you are a (say) Labour supporter in Buckingham, you are pretty much disenfranchised for as long as Bercow is Speaker. But that's the system we have.

I am no sure what the situation is with the deputy Speakers in the HoC. I imagine they act more like normal members regarding voting etc but I'm not sure.

I don't suppose that the Speaker has much time for dealing with normal constituency matters - they will employ staff to handle that sort of thing on their behalf. The same as it is with ministers of State who I guess rarely if ever do actual constituency work and surgeries - they don't have time. Tony Blair had a guy, a close friend of his I believe, in his Sedgefield constituency (a long way from London!) who IIRC did the vast majority of the Sedgefield standard MP stuff on his behalf.

  • 1
    Is the speaker still up for election? In that case, how the people in his constituency represented in parliament?
    – JJJ
    Mar 30, 2019 at 15:24
  • @JJJ how would the situation for a voter in the speaker's constituency be different from that of a Labour voter in a Conservative MP's constituency, or vice versa, etc.?
    – phoog
    Mar 30, 2019 at 15:53
  • 1
    @phoog in those constituencies there exists at least a majority for whatever the incumbent is from. And indeed, those can be challenged should the voters change their minds. In this case, that doesn't happen (if I understand the answer correctly). Also, and indeed a different question, how does that work with MP surgeries?
    – JJJ
    Mar 30, 2019 at 15:59
  • 1
    The deputies don't vote, but they are selected such that, if you also count the loss of the Speaker's vote (against his former party), then there is no net change in voting power.
    – Kevin
    Mar 30, 2019 at 16:14
  • @JJJ I'd argue that the political opinions of the speaker and his constituents, even when actively trying to be as impartial as possible, still have a larger influence on the parliament's decisions than 1 out of 650 votes.
    – Peteris
    Mar 31, 2019 at 0:16

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