John Bercow stepped down on Thursday after 10 years as speaker of Britain’s House of Commons — a role that rocketed him into the heart of the Brexit battle, and won him European fans.
The man in the middle of more than three years of fiery parliamentary debates has proved a controversial figure, loathed by pro-Brexit supporters and hailed by its foes.
Animated, verbose and with an idiosyncratic style, the 56-year-old Bercow has yelled “Order! Order!” more than 14,000 times during his tenure as the 157th speaker.
His detractors call him pompous one MP even branded him a “sanctimonious dwarf” but his backers say he has bolstered the rights of backbenchers to hold the government to account.
A social media mash-up by German television of Bercow trying to calm down rowdy MPs has been seen thousands of times. A Belgian newspaper called him “irreplaceable”.
Dutch daily De Volksrant wrote: “The only order in British politics comes from John Bercow’s mouth in these turbulent days.”
Both Britain’s main party leaders paid tribute to Bercow Wednesday as he chaired the weekly prime minister’s questions session for the final time.