UK parliament Speaker John Bercow announces he will quit

In this Friday, Sept. 6, 2019 file photo, Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow gestures during a meeting at the G7 parliaments summit, in Brest, western France. (AP)
Updated 09 September 2019

UK parliament Speaker John Bercow announces he will quit

  • He has been speaker since June 2009 and has often been a thorn in the government’s side

LONDON: Britain’s House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, who played a key role in the three-year Brexit crisis, said on Monday he would stand down from the role, issuing a warning to the government not to “degrade” parliament.
Bercow bent parliamentary rules to give lawmakers the chance to challenge government policy, most recently to pass a law seeking to block a no-deal exit from the European Union.
He was given a standing ovation from many members of the lower house as he announced his plan to stand down in the coming weeks.

A member of parliament since 1997, he has been speaker since June 2009 and has often been a thorn in the government’s side.
“We degrade this parliament at our peril,” he said, with his gaze fixed on the benches in the debating chamber where government members sit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been heavily criticized for suspending parliament for just over a month, only weeks before the country’s most important political decision in decades.
Bercow said he would not contest the next election if parliament voted later on Monday in favor of calling one. If, as expected, lawmakers reject the government’s attempt to call an election, he said he would quit on Oct. 31 — the day Britain is currently due to leave the EU.

 

 


WikiLeaks founder Assange due in court to fight extradition

Updated 18 min 9 sec ago

WikiLeaks founder Assange due in court to fight extradition

  • The 48-year-old Australian is set to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a case management hearing
  • The case is expected to take months to resolve, with each side able to make several appeals of rulings

LONDON: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to appear in court as he fights extradition to the United States on charges of conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer.
The 48-year-old Australian is set to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a case management hearing. Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed an order in June allowing Assange to be extradited.
US authorities accuse Assange of scheming with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break a password for a classified government computer.
The case is expected to take months to resolve, with each side able to make several appeals of rulings.
The public gallery was jammed with Assange supporters, and outside the courthouse others carried placards calling for Assange to be released.
Assange has been in Belmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London while the extradition case is being prepared. He is facing a number of serious charges including espionage.
The first extended hearing is set for early next year but may be delayed.
Assange claims he is a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection.