Mr Bercow faced questions about his impartiality after defying conventions to allow a controversial vote that will force Theresa May’s hand if she fails to win support for her EU exit deal next week. The move, which had been advised against the rules, floored No 10 and led to a “stand-up row” between Chief Whip Julian Smith and Mr Bercow.
And the Commons chamber erupted in jeers as the Speaker claimed he was simply “trying to do the right thing”.
Conservative Marcus Fysh, who sits on the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, said Mr Bercow was no longer fit to hold the office of Speaker.
He said: “It has completely undermined the procedures of the House. He did it because he’s a Remainer.
“I think he is partial and that is a disgrace. What he should do is step down. He needs to think very hard about what he has done today.”
Mr Fysh said Mr Bercow’s actions were a constitutional “nightmare” because he had shown that a Speaker can ignore conventions and “just do what they like”.
Mr Bercow is understood to have defied the advice of impartial officials to allow MPs to vote on an amendment that will force the Prime Minister to return to Parliament with a Brexit “Plan B” within three days if her deal is defeated next Tuesday.
The proposal, by Tory former minister Dominic Grieve, a leading Remainer, led to Mrs May’s second defeat in 24 hours after she lost the vote 308-297.
Previously, the Government had three weeks to bring new proposals if it lost the meaningful vote.
Baroness Boothroyd said that Mr Bercow had failed to “come clean” and be “honest” with the Commons.
She said: “He put clerks in an invidious position. He gave the impression they went along with him. He didn’t come clean with the House.”
Speaker John Bercow in the Commons yesterday
Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom challenged Mr Bercow to produce the ‘full advice’
Former Tory minister Crispin Blunt said that Mr Bercow must now “reflect” on his position, as he was no longer seen as neutral.
“Not least because you gave your opinion and your vote on the issue of Brexit publicly, we will have an unshakeable conviction that the referee is no longer neutral.
“I just invite you to reflect on the conclusion that many of us will have inevitably have come to.”
Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom challenged Mr Bercow to produce the “full advice” from Commons clerk Sir David Natzler and others.
The Speaker said he was given guidance “privately, and that’s absolutely proper” and refused to confirm his decision was agreed by Sir David.
Tory MP David Morris leapt to his feet and repeatedly demanded “Publish it!” and Brexiteer Mark Francois called Mr Bercow’s defence “utter sophistry”.
To Tory jeers, Mr Bercow insisted: “I’m trying to do the right thing and make the right judgments.
“That is what I have tried to do and what I will go on doing.”
The vote followed Tuesday’s Government defeat on a motion to limit its powers to change taxes if there was a no-deal Brexit.
The row erupted at the start of five days of Commons debate after Mrs May pulled a vote on her plans last month.
The Prime Minister’s dramatic move followed a warning by whips that she was facing certain defeat.
The Speaker who likes to speak out…
John Bercow intervened during Donald Trump’s visit to Britain, saying he was not welcome in Parliament and vetoing the idea of the President speaking in Westminster Hall, an honour that was given to his predecessor Barack Obama, writes Giles Sheldrick.
“Outrageous” comments the Speaker made suggesting Eastern European immigrants have more “aptitude and commitment” to work than British people provoked fury.
His wife Sally posed for a newspaper interview wearing just a bed sheet and described the view from the Speaker’s House as “incredibly sexy”.
Mrs Bercow added that after her husband landed the job as Commons Speaker the couple had become unlikely sex symbols.
Sally Bercow, the Speaker’s controversial wife
To one of his constituents, he breached his neutrality in 2011 by saying he was in favour of keeping the ban on fox hunting.
At the time there were Parliamentary moves to have the ban to be repealed.
For the past five years tennis fan Mr Bercow has received two tickets for the Royal Box at Wimbledon.
In 2016 he bagged one of the most sought-after dates of the summer when he was given a pair with an estimated value of £7,790 by the All England Lawn Tennis Club to watch Andy Murray reach his second final.
Taxpayers forked out £37,000 for Mr Bercow’s “vanity project” official portrait, painted by the artist Brendan Kelly and featuring a new coat of arms he has adopted while in office.
Analysis by Macer Hall
The extraordinary decision by John Bercow to rewrite the rules of the parliamentary game risks turning Westminster’s Brexit paralysis into a full-blown constitutional crisis.
Tory Eurosceptics have long suspected that the Commons Speaker, who has openly admitted voting Remain in the 2016 referendum, cannot be trusted to remain impartial in this increasingly poisonous wrangle.
They were dismayed when Mr Bercow postponed his promised retirement last year, insisting his experience was needed.
And they felt their suspicions were confirmed when he announced his judgment now trumps past custom and practice.
He blithely told MPs: “I understand the importance of precedent, but precedent does not completely bind.
The Experts’ view on John Bercow
The experts’ view on Bercow
“If we were guided only by precedent, manifestly nothing in our procedures would ever change.”
His actions signalled a major shift in power from the Government to a legislature packed with MPs who voted for the country to stay in the EU in the referendum.
Seething ministers are encouraging Tory backbenchers to launch another bid to unseat him, adding to the chaos.
Mr Bercow may not be too worried about his position but his continued presence in the Speaker’s chair will further toxify the atmosphere.
He took up his ancient office nearly a decade ago promising to rebuild public trust after the MPs’ expenses scandal.
If the referendum vote to leave the EU ends up being thwarted, he can expect to retire leaving that trust in ruins.