The Speaker of the House of Commons, The Rt Hon. John Bercow MP, gave a private talk to members of the School of Politics and International Relations and Philosophy earlier this month.
Mr Bercow’s visit was in recognition of Royal Holloway being selected as one of 24 universities to offer the Parliamentary Studies module, starting in September 2019.
He talked to students about the responsibility of the Speaker to facilitate parliamentary debate and his role in encouraging diversity in parliament, as well as his passion for his outreach work in schools and universities.
He also covered the physical height of previous Speakers, informing the audience that at least three previous Speakers in the history of parliament were shorter than him, but only without their heads after they had been executed.
Mr Bercow then, naturally, chaired his own Question and Answer session.
Students asked a variety of probing questions covering the impact on Buckingham constituents of having the Speaker as their MP, sexism and bullying in parliament, dirty political tricks and Brexit and Trump, amongst other topics.
Mr Bercow answered candidly and with some humour, citing instances of a Government Chief Whip being stuck in the toilet during a vote, his love of Arsenal FC and Roger Federer, and referencing the character Treebeard from The Lord of the Rings when explaining the historical speed of change in parliament.