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John Bercow speaks about the future of the House of Commons – University of Reading

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John Bercow speaks about the future of the House of Commons

Release Date 26 March 2010

What sort of House of Commons should we want? This was the question posed by John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, during a lecture at the Henley Business School this week.

The talk, part of the 2010 Henley Business School Keynote Lecture Series, focused on the challenges faced by the House of Commons in the next Parliament.

John Bercow described the events of the past year and the reforms put in place sparked by the expenses scandal. He said: "[The change] has been more profound than is often recognised. Although it was a change born of intense institutional crisis it has, nonetheless, produced a situation in which far more reform has been embraced and enacted in the past nine months than perhaps in the previous nine decades."

Henley's Keynote Lecture Series sees contemporary leaders from a range of disciplines share their knowledge and insight with an audience of senior executives, who want to explore the challenges facing today's organisations and their leaders.

Professor Chris Bones, Dean of the Henley Business School, said: "Our sincere thanks to John for agreeing to present the 2nd lecture of our Series. At a time when MPs, the House of Commons and politics in general are coming under scrutiny, his talk gave us a real insight into the reforms being made within the House of Commons.

"This is the fifth year for this lecture series which focuses on the challenges and dilemmas facing today's organisations and their leaders. As the world continues to respond to a global financial crisis and faces the challenges of managing a changing climate, never before has the behaviour of these leaders been so closely scrutinised or the decisions they take been so crucial to our future economy and society at large."

The next talk in the series on Thursday 20 May will be given by Justin King - Chief Executive, J Sainsbury plc. Justin will examine the undervalued role of and opportunities for rewarding careers in the food industry and highlight the skills gaps.

For more details please visit the Henley Business School Keynote Lecture Series website -


For all media enquiries please contact James Barr, University of Reading Press Officer on 0118 378 7115 or by email on

Notes for editors:

The Henley Business School at the University of Reading is one of the Europe's largest full-service business schools, and also one of the few global business schools to hold triple accredited status (AMBA, EQUIS, AACSB) from the UK, European and US awarding bodies.

Henley Business School comprises five distinctive units - the Schools of Economics, Management and Real Estate & Planning, the ICMA Centre and a world-renowned executive education division. Its internationally renowned offering includes an established range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, the world-ranked Henley MBA and leading-edge open and customised executive programmes. A truly international business school, Henley attracts students from over 140 countries and its global alumni network features more than 30,000 members from every corner of the globe. Visit  for more details.

From 1986 to 1987, John Bercow 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. For many years, John has run successful public speaking courses. He has lectured in the United States to students of the Leadership Institute.

John was elected as Member of Parliament for Buckingham in May 1997, with a majority of 12,386. In May 2005, John was re-elected with an increased majority of 18,129. In June 1999, he was appointed Front Bench Spokesman for Education & Employment, in 2000 he was appointed Front Bench Spokesman for Home Affairs. In 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.

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). John was elected as the 157th Speaker of the House of Commons on 22nd June 2009.

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