Speaker John Bercow praises ‘most diverse’ House of Commons as he is re-elected
LGBT ally John Bercow has praised increased diversity within the House of Commons as he was re-elected Speaker.
Mr Bercow, who was a Tory MP before he was first elected Speaker in 2009, was re-elected as Speaker with no dissent today
The vote was overwhelmingly in favour, with no opposition to Mr Bercow.
Speaking as he was re-elected, Mr Bercow noted the diversity within the House, which has more LGB MPs, more female MPs and more BME MPs than any previous.
Mr Bercow said: “If the House so permits, I shall be honoured to serve as Speaker in this Parliament, which across the parties is more richly diverse and representative of modern Britain than any of its predecessors.
“I will strive to ensure all parts of the House are heard fully and fairly, and I will champion the right of backbenchers to hold to account the government of the day.”
Prime Minister Theresa May added: “As we welcome new members on all sides, we should celebrate the fact that we have a record number of MPs from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, including a female Sikh MP, we also have more disabled MPs and more LGBT MPs.
“I hope that together we will continue to build on the progress that we have made in previous Parliaments to fight against discrimination in all its forms, and make our politics more representative of the people we serve. While there is further to go, if there is one outcome of the election we can all welcome, it is most surely this: that today we have the most diverse and representative Parliament in our history.”
The Speaker is bound to remain politically neutral, but is a strong and persistent voice for LGBT rights.
He hosts the annual PinkNews Awards in Speaker’s House, and wrote for PinkNews earlier this year after the House of Commons was named one of the UK’s top 100 employers for LGBT people via Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.
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Mr Bercow attracted attention when he designed his own Coat of Arms upon his election in 2009 – featuring a Pride flag and pink triangles to represent LGBT rights – alongside the motto ‘ALL ARE EQUAL’.
The Speaker has consistently spoken out for LGBT rights in the Commonwealth and around the world – and is also President of the Kaleidoscope Trust, which seeks to uphold LGBT human rights abroad.
He said ahead of the Commonwealth Games: “Sadly, there might be world-class athletes who will not be able to compete in the Games, as they will have been discriminated against on the basis of their sexuality; shamefully, it is estimated that 4 out of every 5 countries in the Commonwealth criminalise homosexuality.
“Surely, it is time for the Commonwealth to do more to support lesbian, gay, transsexual and bisexual people, to ensure they are not discriminated against, no matter where they live?”
Prior to his appointment as Speaker, Mr Bercow was a consistent rebel within the Conservatives on gay rights issues – resigning from Iain Duncan Smith’s frontbench team in 2002 to vote in favour of gay adoption.
Mr Bercow is the MP for Buckingham.