Commons Speaker John Bercow has announced that he will stand down as an MP at the next general election.
Mr Bercow, in an impassioned speech, told MPs he would stand down as speaker on October 31 unless an election is called before then.
Addressing the Commons while his wife looked on from the gallery, Mr Bercow said: “At the 2017 election, I promised my wife and children that it would be my last.
“This is a pledge that I intend to keep. If the House votes tonight for an early general election, my tenure as Speaker and MP will end when this Parliament ends.
“If the House does not so vote, I have concluded that the least disruptive and most democratic course of action would be for me to stand down at the close of business on Thursday, October 31.
Mr Bercow continued: “Least disruptive because that date will fall shortly after the votes on the Queen’s speech expected on October 21 and 22.
“The week or so after that may be quite lively, and it would be best to have an experienced figure in the chair for that short period.
“Most democratic because it will mean that a ballot is held when all members have some knowledge of the candidates.
“This is far preferable to a contest at the beginning of a parliament when new MPs will not be similarly informed and may find themselves vulnerable to undue institutional influence.”
The Speaker John Bercow added that he has “sought to be the backbenchers’ backstop”, and thanked his team in the Speaker’s House for their work behind the scenes.
Mr Bercow said: “I could not serve this House without a small but superb team in the Speaker’s House, my wife Sally and my three children Oliver, Freddie and Jemima.”
He added: “From the bottom of my heart, I thank them all profusely.”
Mr Bercow’s wife Sally Bercow could be seen smiling on from the gallery.
There were gasps and cheers from the opposition benches as Mr Bercow addressed the Commons.
Mr Bercow added: “We would not want anyone to be whipped senseless, would we?
“Throughout my time as Speaker, I have sought to increase the relative authority of this legislature for which I will make absolutely no apology.”
Mr Bercow concluded: “This has been, let me put it explicitly, the greatest privilege and honour of my professional life for which I will be eternally grateful.
“I wish my successor in the chair the very best fortune in standing up for the rights of honourable and right honourable members individually and for Parliament institutionally as the Speaker of the House of Commons.”
Mr Bercow’s speech was greeted with sustained applause from MPs in the chamber. Opposition MPs rose to their feet as did some former Tory MPs, notably those opposing a no-deal Brexit.