On Tuesday, May 28, The Commonwealth of Virginia had a special guest from the United Kingdom. John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, came for an indelible discussion on democracy and civic engagement.
Speaker M. Kirkland Cox of the Virginia House of Delegates and Chair of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution hosted Bercow’s visit at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. Both speakers, along with Virginia Senator Tommy Norment, welcomed invited guests to the House Chamber with opening remarks.
“It’s my hope that our shared building of dialogue and understanding here today offers a lens through which we can power and motivate all of us to recognize the magnitude of that momentous inception of American government and democracy that Jamestown formed years ago,” Speaker Cox said in his opening while discussing the legacies of Virginia and England.
Bercow has been the speaker since 2009, and concurrently, he serves as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Buckingham. He was a member of the conservative party when he was first elected as speaker, but since becoming an MP he has shifted to a more liberal view.
Political analyst, Dr. Robert Holsworth moderated a Q&A session between Bercow, Cox and Norment.
When asked about the political parties and his opinion of populist movements in the UK, Bercow explained that the country is divided on multiple issues and all that they can do is continue to debate the issues and the various opinions that people have.
“The role of the speaker is frankly to be the facilitator of the fullest and fairest expression of opinion that exists in the house. I may have my own views about this matter, but it’s not for the speaker to try and impose his view. It’s for the speaker to ensure that everybody else’s view is heard,” added Bercow.
Guests were able to partake in a high tea after the discussion and to mingle with other guests and Bercow. Tea, coffee, various scones, cucumber tea sandwiches, miniature fruit tarts and other small delicacies were served.
American Evolution was incredibly honored to host Bercow’s historical visit. Make sure to checkout our photo gallery to see more pictures of the exciting day.