John Bercow, newly retired Speaker of the House of Commons after a decade in the role, is publishing his account of a life in politics with Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Days after stepping down, Bercow said Unspeakable would be the story of his career, from childhood to Parliament to the Speakership, as told in his own words.
The memoir, branded both "grippingly candid" and "essential reading for anyone interested in the business of politics", will publish with W&N on 6th February 2020 retailing at £20. The deal for UK and Commonwealth rights was struck with Andrew Gordon of David Higham Associates.
In the "forthright and incisive" account, according to W&N, Bercow gives his verdict on prominent figures including Tony Blair, David Cameron, Theresa May, and Boris Johnson. He explores and explains the ways in which he has sought to democratise the business of Parliament, using the Speakership to champion the rights of backbench MPs and hold the government to account. He also tackles his "regretted fascination with definably right-wing attitudes" and describes his "inexorable march to more progressive thinking" since being elected a Member of Parliament for Buckingham in 1997.
Bercow, who stood down as Speaker of the House of Commons on 31st October, said: "From childhood to Parliament to the Speakership, I have tried to describe as clearly as I can what motivated me, what I aimed to achieve and what the results were. I made friends and enemies alike, but from start to finish I sought to do the right, rather than the convenient, thing and to be a decent public servant. The story of a rewarding and fortunate career is told in my own words, and readers can make their own assessment of a journey that I enjoyed and they will judge."
Alan Samson, chairman of W&N, added: "We are delighted and honoured to welcome John Bercow to the Weidenfeld & Nicolson list. His memoirs are both a grippingly candid narrative of a truly eventful political life, and also a wonderfully vivid tale of how the nation has reached this point in its history. In the last decade John has made sure that Parliament has been able to stand up to the executive by putting MPs before ministers. Whether it is by accepting Urgent Questions or working hard to determine that the role of parliament is more widely understood by the public, he has played a vital activist role in the Government being held to account. His book will be a hugely entertaining primer for anyone trying to understand the nature of our democracy and the processes of modern politics in this country."