Taxation in the United Kingdom
Taxation in the United Kingdom may involve payments to at least three different levels of government: central government, devolved governments and local government. Central government revenues come from income tax, National Insurance contributions, value added tax, corporation tax and fuel duty. Local government revenues come from grants from central government funds, business rates in England, Council Tax and from fees and charges such as those for on-street parking. In the fiscal year 2014–15, total government revenue was forecast to be £648 billion, or 37.7 per cent of GDP, with net taxes and National Insurance contributions standing at £606 billion. A uniform Land tax was introduced in England during the late 17th century, formed the main source of government revenue throughout the 18th century and the early 19th century. Income tax was announced in Britain by William Pitt the Younger in his budget of December 1798 and introduced in 1799, to pay for weapons and equipment in preparation for the Napoleonic Wars.
Pitt's new graduated income tax began at a levy of 2 old pence in the pound on annual incomes over £60, increased up to a maximum of 2 shillings on annual incomes of over £200. Pitt hoped that the new income tax would raise £10 million, but receipts for 1799 totalled just over £6 million. Income tax was levied under five schedules. Income not falling within those schedules was not taxed; the schedules were: Schedule A Schedule B Schedule C Schedule D Schedule E Later, Schedule F was added. Pitt's income tax was levied from 1799 to 1802, when it was abolished by Henry Addington during the Peace of Amiens. Addington had taken over as prime minister in 1801; the income tax was reintroduced by Addington in 1803 when hostilities recommenced, but it was again abolished in 1816, one year after the Battle of Waterloo. Considerable controversy was aroused by the malt, house and income taxes; the malt tax was easy to collect from brewers. The house tax hit London town houses; the income tax was reintroduced by Sir Robert Peel in the Income Tax Act 1842.
Peel, as a Conservative, had opposed income tax in the 1841 general election, but a growing budget deficit required a new source of funds. The new income tax of 7d in the pound, based on Addington's model, was imposed on annual incomes above £150; the war was financed by borrowing large sums at home and abroad, by new taxes, by inflation. It was implicitly financed by postponing maintenance and repair, canceling capital expenditure; the government avoided indirect taxes because they raised the cost of living, caused discontent among the working class. There was a strong emphasis on being "fair" and being "scientific"; the public supported the heavy new taxes, with minimal complaints. The Treasury rejected proposals for a stiff capital levy, which the Labour Party wanted to use to weaken the capitalists. Instead, there was an excess profits tax, of 50% on profits above the normal prewar level. Excise taxes were added on luxury imports such as automobiles and watches. There was no sales value added tax.
The main increase in revenue came from the income tax. 6d in the pound, individual exemptions were lowered. The income tax rate increased to 5s. In 1916, 6s. In 1918. Altogether, taxes provided at most 30% of national expenditure, with the rest from borrowing; the national debt soared from £625 million to £7,800 million. Government bonds paid 5% p.a. Inflation escalated so that the pound in 1919 purchased only a third of the basket it had purchased in 1914. Wages were laggard, the poor and retired were hard hit. Britain's income tax has changed over the years, it taxed a person's income regardless of, beneficially entitled to that income, but now tax is paid on income to which the taxpayer is beneficially entitled. Most companies were taken out of the income tax net in 1965; these changes were consolidated by the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970. The schedules under which tax is levied have changed. Schedule B was abolished in 1988, Schedule C in 1996 and Schedule E in 2003. For income tax purposes, the remaining schedules were superseded by the Income Tax Act 2005, which repealed Schedule F.
For corporation tax purposes, the Schedular system was repealed and superseded by the Corporation Tax Acts of 2009 and 2010. The highest rate of income tax peaked in the Second World War at 99.25%. This was reduced after the war and was around 97.5 percent through the 1950s and 60s. In 1971, the top rate of income tax on earned income was cut to 75%. A surcharge of 15% on investment income kept the overall top rate on that income at 90%. In 1974 the top tax rate on earned income was again raised, to 83%. With the investment income surcharge this raised the overall top rate on investment income to 98%, the highest permanent rate since the war; this applied to incomes over £20,000. In 1974, as many as 750,000 people were liable to pay the top rate o
Legislatures of the United Kingdom
The Legislatures of the United Kingdom are derived from a number of different sources from both within the UK and through membership of the European Union. The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body for the United Kingdom and the British overseas territories with Scotland and Northern Ireland each having their own devolved legislatures; each of the three major jurisdictions of the United Kingdom has legal system. The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body for the United Kingdom and for English Law, it alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and its territories. Its head is the Sovereign of the United Kingdom and its seat is the Palace of Westminster in Westminster, London; the United Kingdom Legislation may take the form of Acts or Statutory Instruments, made under the authority of an Act of Parliament by either a government minister or by the Queen-in-Council.
The latter are subject either to parliamentary approval or parliamentary disallowance. The majority of Acts considered in the UK are defined as public general acts, or'Acts of Parliament' as they will have progressed and gained approval as a Bill through both House of Commons and House of Lords, have gained Royal Assent from the Monarch. Local and Personal Acts of Parliament are presented to Parliament as a result of sponsored petitions. These, are processed through committees to enable relevant or affected parties to challenge or change the proposed Act. Prerogative instruments, made by the Sovereign under the royal prerogative are another source of UK-wide legislation.. The UK Parliament is responsible for all matters relating to defence and all foreign affairs and relations with international organisations the United Nations, the Commonwealth and the European Union. With there being no devolved legislature in England the UK Parliament is the supreme body for its governance, public bodies and local government.
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is an elected chamber consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament which are elected using First past the post in single-member constituencies with 533 elected from England, 59 from Scotland, 40 from Wales and 18 from Northern Ireland. The House of Commons is now considered to be the supreme chamber of Parliament; the House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom however it is an unelected chamber with all members to the House of Lords being appointed. As of August 2018, there are 793 members known as "Peers"; the House of Lords no longer has the same powers as the House of Commons under the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 when it comes to blocking general legislation and the passing of financial legislation. The Scottish Parliament is the national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh; the Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament.
Of these 73 MSPs are elected using First past the post in single member constituencies and a further 56 MSPs are elected using the D'Hondt method, a form of party-list proportional representation in eight additional member regions with each region electing 7 MSPs. The Scottish Parliament was convened by the Scotland Act 1998, which sets out its powers as a devolved legislature; the Act delineates the legislative competence of the Parliament – the areas in which it can make laws – by explicitly specifying powers that are "reserved" to the Parliament of the United Kingdom: all matters that are not explicitly reserved are automatically the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament. The British Parliament retains the ability to amend the terms of reference of the Scottish Parliament, can extend or reduce the areas in which it can make laws; the first meeting of the new Parliament took place on 12 May 1999. The Scottish Statutory Instruments made by the Scottish Government are another source of legislation.
As with Statutory Instruments made by the British government, these are subject to either approval or disallowance by the Scottish Parliament The National Assembly for Wales has the power to make legislation in Wales. The Assembly was created by the Government of Wales Act 1998, which followed a referendum in 1997, it is a democratically elected body with 60 members known as Assembly Members. Of these 40 AMs are elected using First past the post in single member constituencies and a further 20 MSPs are elected using the D'Hondt method, a form of party-list proportional representation in five additional member regions with each region electing 4 AMs; the Assembly had no powers to initiate primary legislation until limited law-making powers were gained through the Government of Wales Act 2006. Its primary law-making powers were enhanced following a Yes vote in the referendum on 3 March 2011, making it possible for it to legislate in the 20 areas that are devolved without having to consult the UK Parliament, nor the Secretary of State for Wales.
The Assembly may delegate authority to enact legislation through Welsh Statutory Instruments. Under the Wales Act 2017 the Assembly came into line with Scotland and Northern Ireland and moved to a resevered powers model, it is expected that the National Assembly for Wales will be renamed the "We
Leader of the Opposition (United Kingdom)
The Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition is the politician who leads the official opposition in the United Kingdom. The Leader of the Opposition by convention leads the largest party not within the government: where one party wins outright this is the party leader of the second largest political party in the House of Commons; the current Leader of the Opposition is Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, elected to the leadership of the Labour Party on 12 September 2015. The Leader of the Opposition is viewed as an alternative or shadow Prime Minister, is appointed to the Privy Council, they lead an Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet which scrutinises the actions of the Cabinet led by the Prime Minister, as well as offer alternative policies. There is a Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords. In the nineteenth century party affiliations were less fixed and leaders in the two Houses were of equal status. A single, clear Leader of the Opposition was only definitively settled if the opposition leader in Commons or Lords was the outgoing prime minister.
However, since the Parliament Act 1911 there has been no dispute that the leader in the House of Commons is pre-eminent and holds the main title. The Leader of the Opposition is entitled to a salary in addition to their salary as a Member of Parliament. In 2010, this additional entitlement was available up to £73,617; the first modern Leader of the Opposition was Charles James Fox, who led the Whigs as such for a generation, except during the Fox–North Coalition in 1783. He rejoined the government in 1806, died that year. For there to be a recognised Leader of the Opposition, it is necessary for there to be a sufficiently cohesive opposition to need a formal leader; the emergence of the office thus coincided with the period when wholly united parties became the norm. This situation was normalised in the Parliament of 1807–1812, when the members of the Grenvillite and Foxite Whig factions resolved to maintain a joint, dual-house leadership for the whole party; the Ministry of all the Talents, in which both Whig factions participated fell at the 1807 general election, during which the Whigs had re-adopted traditional factions, forming an opposition.
The prime minister of the Talents ministry, Lord Grenville had led his eponymous faction from the House of Lords. Meanwhile, the government leader of the House of Commons, Viscount Howick, led his faction, the Foxite whigs, from the House of Commons. Howick's father, the 1st Earl Grey died on 14 November 1807; as such the new Earl Grey moved to the House of Lords. This left no obvious Whig leader in the House of Commons. Grenville's article in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography confirms that he was considered the Whig leader in the House of Lords between 1807 and 1817, despite Grey leading the larger faction. Grenville and Grey, political historian Archibald Foord describes as being "duumvirs of the party from 1807 to 1817" and consulted about what was to be done. Grenville was at first reluctant to name a Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons, commenting "... all the elections in the world would not have made Windham or Sheridan leaders of the old Opposition while Fox was alive...".
They jointly recommended George Ponsonby to the Whig MPs, whom they accepted as the first Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons. Ponsonby, an Irish lawyer, the uncle of Grey's wife, had been Lord Chancellor of Ireland during the Ministry of all the Talents and had only just been re-elected to the House of Commons in 1808 when he became leader. Ponsonby proved a weak leader but as he could not be persuaded to resign and the duumvirs did not want to depose him, he remained in place until he died in 1817. Lord Grenville retired from active politics in 1817, leaving Grey as the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords. Grey was not a former prime minister in 1817, unlike Grenville, so under the convention that developed in the century he would have been in theory of equal status to whoever was leader in the other House. However, there was little doubt that if a Whig ministry was possible, Grey rather than the less distinguished Commons leaders would have been invited to form that government.
In this respect Grey's position was like that of the Earl of Derby in the Protectionist Conservative opposition of the late 1840s and early 1850s. Earl Grey witnessed a delay of about a year, until 1818, before a new Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons was chosen; this was George Tierney, reluctant to accept the leadership and had weak support from his party. On 18 May 1819, Tierney moved a motion in the Commons for a committee on the state of the nation; this motion was defeated by 357 to 178, a division involving the largest number of MPs until the debates over the Reform bill in the early 1830s. Foord comments that "this defeat put an effective end to Tierney's leadership... Tierney did not disclaim the leadership till 23 Jan. 1821... but he had ceased to exercise its functions since the great defeat". Between 1821 and 1830 the Whig Commons leadership was left vacant; the leadership in the House of Lords was not much more effective: in 1824 Grey retired from active leadership, asking the party to follow the Marquess of Lansdowne "as the person whom his friends were to look upon as their leader".
Lansdowne disclaimed the title of leader. Following the retirement of Lord Liverpool from the prime ministership in 1827, the party political situation change
Prime Minister's Questions
Prime Minister's Questions is a constitutional convention in the United Kingdom held as a single session every Wednesday at noon when the House of Commons is sitting, during which the Prime Minister spends around half an hour answering questions from Members of Parliament. Although prime ministers have answered questions in parliament for centuries, until the 1880s questions to the prime minister were treated the same as questions to other Ministers of the Crown: asked without notice, on days when ministers were available in whatever order MPs rose to ask them. In 1881 fixed time-limits for questions were introduced and questions to the prime minister were moved to the last slot of the day as a courtesy to the 72-year-old prime minister at the time, William Gladstone, so he could come to the Commons in the day. In 1953, when Winston Churchill was prime minister, it was agreed that questions would be submitted on fixed days. A Procedure Committee report in 1959 recommended that questions to the prime minister be taken in two fixed-period, 15-minute slots on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
The recommendations were put into practice under Harold Macmillan during a successful experiment from 18 July 1961 to the end of the session. The first question was delivered by Labour MP Fenner Brockway, asking to which Minister the UK Ambassador to South Africa would be responsible. In response to the Prime Minister's answer, Brockway said "May I express our appreciation of this new arrangement for answering Questions and the hope that it will be convenient for the Prime Minister as well as useful to the House?" PMQs were made permanent in the following parliamentary session, with the first of these on 24 October 1961. The style and culture of PMQs has changed over time. According to Speaker Selwyn Lloyd, the now famous disorderly behaviour of MPs during PMQs first arose as a result of the personal animosity between Harold Wilson and Edward Heath. In the past, prime ministers opted to transfer questions to the relevant minister, Leaders of the Opposition did not always take their allocated number of questions in some sessions, sometimes opting not to ask any questions at all.
This changed during the premiership of Margaret Thatcher, when the prime minister chose not to transfer any questions to other members of her Cabinet, Labour leader Neil Kinnock began asking more questions than his predecessors. His successor, John Smith, established the precedent of always taking his full allocation of questions. One of Tony Blair's first acts as prime minister was to replace the two 15-minute sessions with a single 30-minute session on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. but since 2003 at noon. The allocated number of questions in each session for the Leader of the Opposition was doubled from three to six, the leader of the third-largest party in the Commons was given two questions; the first PMQs to use this new format took place on 21 May 1997. During the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government from 2010–2015, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, as a member of the government, did not ask questions during PMQs. Instead the leader of the second largest parliamentary opposition party at the time, Nigel Dodds of the Democratic Unionist Party asked a single question in the session followed by at least one MP from another smaller party such as the Scottish National Party or Plaid Cymru.
Backbench MPs wishing to ask a question must enter their names on the Order Paper. The names of entrants are shuffled in a ballot to produce a random order in which they will be called by the Speaker; the Speaker will call on MPs to put their questions in an alternating fashion: one MP from the government benches is followed by one from the opposition benches. MPs who are not selected may be chosen to ask a supplementary question if they "catch the eye" of the Speaker, done by standing and sitting before the prime minister gives an answer; the Leader of the Opposition asks six questions at PMQs, either as a whole block or in two separate groups of three. If the first question is asked by a government backbencher, the Leader of the Opposition is the second MP to ask questions. If the first question is asked by an opposition MP, this will be followed by a question from a government MP and by the questions from the Leader of the Opposition; the leader of the third largest parliamentary party would ask two questions.
The first formal question on the Order Paper, posed by saying "Number one, Mr. Speaker", is to ask the Prime Minister "if s/he will list his/her engagements for the day"; the Prime Minister replies:This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall have further such meetings today; the reason for such a question is that the Prime Minister may be questioned only as to those matters for which he or she is directly responsible. Such matters are few in number, because many substantive matters are handled by the other Ministers in the Cabinet. By requiring the Prime Minister to list his or her engagements, the members may inquire whether the Prime Minister ought to be engaged in some other activity or be taking some other action. Before listing the day's engagements, the Prime Minister sometimes extends condolences or offers congratulations after significant events. During the Iraq War, Tony Blair introduced the practice o
Erskine May: Parliamentary Practice
Erskine May is a parliamentary authority written by British constitutional theorist and Clerk of the House of Commons, Thomas Erskine May. Erskine May is considered to be the most authoritative and influential work on parliamentary procedure and the constitutional conventions affecting Parliament which form a major part of the uncodified UK constitution, it is not a rigid set of rules but a description of how the procedure evolved and of the conventions. Such is the authority of the text that it is regarded as analogous to part of the constitution itself. Since its first publication in 1844, the book has been updated. Erskine May edited nine editions of the book in his lifetime. Updates have continued into the present day; the Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy recommended in 2015 that "Erskine May, the definitive guide to parliamentary procedure, should be available online by the time the next edition is produced."The work has been influential outside the United Kingdom in countries that use the Westminster system.
Book I: Constitution and Privileges of Parliament. Chapter I: Preliminary view of the constituent parts of Parliament: The Crown, The Lords Spiritual and Temporal, the Knights and Burgesses. Chapter II: Power and Jurisdiction of Parliament collectively. Rights and Power of each of its constituent parts. Chapter III: General view of the Privileges of Parliament: Power of commitment by both Houses for Breaches of Privilege. Causes of commitment cannot be inquired into by Courts of Law. Acts construed as Breaches of Privilege. Different punishments inflicted by the two Houses. Chapter IV: Privilege of Freedom of Speech confirmed by the ancient law of Parliament and by statute: its nature and limits. Chapter V: Freedom from Arrest or Molestation: its antiquity. Privilege of not being impleaded in civil actions: of not being liable to be summoned by subpoena or to serve on juries. Commitment of Members by Courts of Justice. Privilege of witnesses and others in attendance on Parliament. Chapter VI: Jurisdiction of Courts of Law in matters of Privilege.
Book II: Practice and Proceedings in Parliament. Chapter VII: Introductory remarks. Meeting of a new Parliament. Election and Royal Approbation of the Speaker of the Commons. Oaths. Queen's Speech, Addresses in answer. Places of Peers and Members of the House of Commons. Attendance on the service of Parliament. Office of Speaker in both Houses. Principal Officers. Journals. Admission of Strangers. Prorogation. Chapter VIII: Motions and Questions. Notices of Motions. Questions seconded. Motions withdrawn. Questions superseded by Adjournment. Previous Questions. New Questions substituted by Amendment. Complicated Questions. Questions put. Chapter IX: Amendments to Questions. Chapter X: The same Question or Bill may not be twice offered in a Session. Chapter XI: Rules of Debate: Manner and time of speaking: Rules and orders to be observed by Members in speaking, in attending to Debates. Chapter XII: Divisions. Mode of dividing in both Houses. Proxies and Pairs. Protests. Members interested. Chapter XIII: Committees of the whole House: General rules of proceeding: Chairman: Motions and Debate: House resumed.
Chapter XIV: Appointment, Constitution and Proceedings of Select Committees in both Houses. Chapter XV: Witnesses: Modes of Summons and Examination: Administration of Oaths: Expenses. Chapter XVI: Communications between the Lords and Commons: Messages and Conferences: Joint Committees, Committees communicating with each other. Chapter XVII: Communications from the Crown to Parliament: Their forms and character: How acknowledged: Addresses to the Crown: Messages to Members of the Royal Family. Chapter XVIII: Proceedings of Parliament in passing Public Bills. Royal Assent. Chapter XIX: Ancient mode of petitioning Parliament: Form and character of modern Petitions: Practice of both Houses in receiving them. Chapter XX: Accounts and Records presented to Parliament: Printing and distribution of them: Arrangement and statistical value of Parliamentary Returns. Chapter XXI: Progressive influence of the Commons in granting Supplies, imposing Burthens upon the People. Exclusion of the Lords from the right of amending Money Bills.
Constitutional functions of the Crown and of the Commons, in matters of Supply. Modern practice in voting Money and imposing Pecuniary Burthens. Committees of Supply and Ways and Means. Chapter XXII: Issue of Writs, Trial of Controverted Elections by the House of Commons. Chapter XXIII: Impeachment by the Commons. Trial of Peers. Bills of Attainder and of Pains and Penalties. Book III: The Manner of passing Private Bills. Chapter XXIV: Distinctive character of Private Bills: preliminary view of the proceedings of Parliament in passing them. Chapter XXV: Conditions to be observed by parties before Private Bills are introduced into Parliament: Notices and deposit of plans, &c.: Estimates and subscription contracts. Chapter XXVI: Course of proceedings upon Private Bills introduced into the House of Commons.
The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their sub-divisions. Ill-defined, the term has different meanings depending on context, it is used to designate the monarch in either a personal capacity, as Head of the Commonwealth, or as the king or queen of his or her realms. It can refer to the rule of law. A corporation sole, the Crown is the legal embodiment of executive and judicial governance in the monarchy of each country; these monarchies are united by the personal union of their monarch. The concept of the Crown developed first in England as a separation of the literal crown and property of the kingdom from the person and personal property of the monarch, it spread through English and British colonisation and is now rooted in the legal lexicon of the United Kingdom, its Crown dependencies, the other 15 independent realms. It is not to be confused with any physical crown, such as those of the British regalia; the term is found in various expressions such as "Crown land", which some countries refer to as "public land" or "state land".
The concept of the Crown took form under the feudal system. Though not used this way in all countries that had this system, in England, all rights and privileges were bestowed by the ruler. Land, for instance, was granted by the Crown to lords in exchange for feudal services and they, in turn, granted the land to lesser lords. One exception to this was common socage—owners of land held as socage held it subject only to the Crown; when such lands become owner-less they are said to escheat. Bona vacantia is the royal prerogative; the monarch is the living embodiment of the Crown and, as such, is regarded as the personification of the state. The body of the reigning sovereign thus holds two distinct personas in constant coexistence: that of a natural-born human being and that of the state as accorded to him or her through law; the terms the state, the Crown, the Crown in Right of, Her Majesty the Queen in Right of, similar are all synonymous and the monarch's legal personality is sometimes referred to as the relevant jurisdiction's name.
As such, the king or queen is the employer of all government officials and staff, the guardian of foster children, as well as the owner of all state lands and equipment, state owned companies, the copyright for government publications. This is all in his or her position as sovereign, not as an individual; the Crown represents the legal embodiment of executive and judicial governance. While the Crown's legal personality is regarded as a corporation sole, it can, at least for some purposes, be described as a corporation aggregate headed by the monarch. Whilst the Crown refers to the monarch, this reference is made in re the monarch this reference is to the monarch in their capacity as monarch, does not refer to that individual in their totality of ownership interests and actions; the monarch can act in a private capacity. This duality of characterisation can be illustrated in several ways. In property ownership for example, although both are royal residences, Buckingham Palace is the property of the Crown via the Crown Estate whilst Balmoral Castle is the property of Elizabeth II and not of the Crown.
The latter property can be alienated by the Queen, whereas any disposition of the former property would need to be done via instrument of government as an act of state. The Queen's bank accounts at Coutts contain components of her private wealth only, whilst the resources of the monarch acting as the Crown are dispensed from HM Treasury and the Crown Estate to the Royal Household. A third example is in employment relationships; however those who assist as employees of the monarch as the Crown do so on employment from the Royal Household, the official department charged with supporting the monarch. Those who a
John Simon Bercow is a British politician, the Speaker of the House of Commons since June 2009. He concurrently serves as the Member of Parliament for Buckingham. Prior to his election to Speaker, he was a member of the Conservative Party. A former right-winger, he changed his views after becoming an MP and at one time was rumoured to be to defect to the Labour Party. Bercow's election to the Speaker's chair depended on the backing of other parties, was unpopular with many of his former Conservative Party colleagues, he served as a councillor from 1986 to 1990 and unsuccessfully contested parliamentary seats in the 1987 and 1992 general elections. In the 1997 general election, Bercow was elected the MP for Buckingham and promoted to the shadow cabinet in 2001, he held posts in the shadow cabinets of Iain Duncan Michael Howard. In November 2002, he resigned from the shadow cabinet over disputes concerning the Adoption and Children Act but returned under Howard in 2003. In September 2004, Bercow was dismissed after disagreements with Howard.
Following the resignation of Speaker Michael Martin, Bercow announced his intention to stand for the Speakership election on 22 June 2009 and was successful. He remained Speaker and was re-elected in his constituency at the general election on 7 May 2015, he was re-elected as Speaker, when the House sat at the start of the new parliament on 18 May 2015. Following the 2017 general election, Bercow was re-elected, again unopposed, as Speaker, on 13 June 2017, he is the first Speaker since the Second World War to be elected to the post three times. In October 2009, Bercow chaired the United Kingdom Youth Parliament's first annual sitting in the House of Commons, making them the only group except Members of Parliament to sit in the chamber, he has chaired every subsequent sitting and attended every annual conference and supporting Members of Youth Parliament from across the UK. In 2014, Bercow was appointed Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, in July 2017 he was appointed Chancellor of the University of Essex.
In October 2018, it was reported that Bercow intended to step down as Speaker in the summer of 2019, due to a report on the failure of high-level figures in Parliament to deal adequately with bullying of staff at Westminster and due to allegations of bullying made against him personally. However, it was reported that Bercow planned "to stay as speaker" until the end of parliament in 2022. Bercow was born in Edgware, the son of Brenda and Charles Bercow, a taxi driver, his father was born to his mother converted to Judaism. His paternal grandparents were Jews. Having settled in the UK, the family anglicised its surname from Berkowitz to Bercow. Bercow attended Frith Manor Primary School in Woodside Park, Finchley Manorhill, a large comprehensive school in North Finchley. In his youth, Bercow had been ranked Britain's No. 1 junior tennis player, but came down with bronchial asthma and was unable to pursue a professional career. Bercow graduated with a first-class honours degree in government from the University of Essex in 1985.
Professor Anthony King said "When he was a student here, he was right-wing, pretty stroppy, good. He was an outstanding student."As a young activist, Bercow was a member of the right-wing Conservative Monday Club. He stood as a candidate for the club's national executive in 1981 with a manifesto calling for a programme of "assisted repatriation" of immigrants, became secretary of its immigration and repatriation committee. However, at the age of 20 he left the club, citing the views of many of the club's members as his reason, has since called his participation in the club "utter madness" and dismissed his views from that period as "bone headed". After graduating from the University of Essex, Bercow was elected as the last national chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students, 1986–87; the FCS was broken up by the chairman of the Conservative Party, Norman Tebbit, after one of its members had accused previous Tory PM Harold Macmillan of war crimes in extraditing Cossacks to the Soviet Union.
Bercow attracted the attention of the Conservative leadership, in 1987 he was appointed by Tebbit as vice-chairman of the Conservative Collegiate Forum to head the campaign for student support in the run-up to the 1987 general election. After a spell in merchant banking, Bercow joined the lobbying firm Rowland Sallingbury Casey in 1988, becoming a board director within five years. With fellow Conservative Julian Lewis, Bercow ran an advanced speaking and campaigning course for over 10 years, which trained over 600 Conservatives in campaigning and communication techniques, he has lectured in the United States to students of the Leadership Institute. In 1986, Bercow was elected as a Conservative councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth, served for four years representing the Streatham, St Leonard's ward. In 1987, he was appointed the youngest deputy group leader in the United Kingdom. In 1995, Bercow was appointed as a special adviser to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Jonathan Aitken.
After Aitken's resignation to fight a libel action, Bercow served as a special adviser to the Secretary of State for National Heritage, Virginia Bottomley. Bercow was an unsuccessful Conservative candidate in the 1987 general election in Motherwell South, again at the 1992 general election in Bristol South. In 1996 he paid £1,000 to charter a helicopter so that he could attend the selection meetings for two safe Conservative parliamentary seats on the same day – Buckingham and Surrey Heath –