Controversial issues raised with the Speaker of the House of Commons (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow takes questions from Darlington students
A VISITOR from Westminster entertained students from the region with parliamentary tales and insights into life inside the House of Commons.
John Bercow, Speaker of the House, visited Durham University yesterday (Thursday, October 10) and Darlington College this morning (Friday, October 11) to take part in question and answer sessions with journalism and politics students.
The students asked a range of questions, from how Mr Bercow's neutral Speaker’s role affected his relationship with the Conservative party to how he remembered the names of all 650 MPs.
More controversial issues were also raised as Mr Bercow was asked for his opinions on the ‘desolate North East’ comment made by Conservative peer Lord Howell and whether he would be happy to have Simon Burns as his Deputy Speaker, despite having been called a ‘stupid, sanctimonious dwarf’ by him in the past.
Mr Bercow said: “The idea of the North East as being desolate is bizarre.
“Lord Howell is a highly intelligent man, but he makes some bizarre remarks from time to time.”
Addressing the issue of Mr Burns putting himself forward for the role of Deputy Speaker, Mr Bercow said: “We have to work as a cohesive team, it isn’t about individual personalities.
“I will work with whatever hand of cards is dealt to me.”
Mr Bercow told the students that when he first became Speaker in 2009 he was keen to make the role more visible outside Westminster and enjoyed travelling the country to engage with the public and young people in particular.
He added that he saw his role as “a great privilege” and was proud to be part of a parliamentary institution that is respected across the world.
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