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University of Bedfordshire
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Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire

New chancellor sitting down

John Bercow

The Rt Hon John Bercow MP was appointed Chancellor of the University in 2014.The Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire presides at University Graduation ceremonies, and chairs the University Court.

Born in Middlesex in 1963, John grew up in London and graduated from the University of Essex with a first class honours degree in 1985.  He was a member of the Conservative Party from 1980 until, in accordance with convention, he rescinded his party membership in 2009 on becoming Speaker of the House of Commons.

John served on Lambeth Council and as a special adviser to two government ministers before being elected Member of Parliament for Buckingham at the May 1997 General Election.

Between 1997 and 2009, John Bercow served on a number of Parliamentary Select Committees, was Opposition Spokesperson for Education and Employment, Shadow Home Office Minister, Shadow Chief Secretary, Opposition Spokesperson for Work and Pensions, and then Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.

In 2005, John Bercow was awarded The House magazine award for Backbencher of the Year and, in the same year, was named by Channel 4 and The Hansard Society as Opposition Politician of the Year.  

In June 2009, John was voted the 157th Speaker of the House of Commons. As part of his commitment to making Parliament more accessible, John Bercow has embarked on an extensive outreach programme, travelling across the country to visit schools, universities and community groups to talk about his role and that of Parliament.

He was the first Speaker to allow the UK Youth Parliament debate from the House of Commons Chamber. Since his election as Speaker, John has sought to champion the rights of backbenchers, and has ensured Parliamentary business is dealt with in a timely manner to ensure as many Members of Parliament can contribute as is feasible.  

In 2012, John was named Politician of the Year by the Political Studies Association.

He is one of the leading figures in UK public life, who has sought to engage all parts and people of the UK in the work of Parliament. Just as he is committed to opening up Parliament and politics to young people, he shares this University's commitment and mission to open up quality higher education to all who can benefit – so that together we transform the lives of students, communities and countries.

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