THE SNP’s Pete Wishart is reportedly mulling over a bid to replace John Bercow.

The Speaker stunned the Commons yesterday when he revealed that he plans on standing down on the day the UK is due to leave the EU.

While opposition MPs rushed to pay tribute, giving him a sustained standing ovation at the end of his statement, most Tories remained seated, many of them refusing even to clap.

Bercow said he would stay until the end of next month, overseeing what will almost certainly be a contentious time for Parliament.

He told MPs: “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.”

He then went on to suggest that this current Parliament – where there is no majority for a No-Deal Brexit – should elect the next Speaker.

Bercow said this would be “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.”

Bercow has been a divisive Speaker, hated by Brexiteers and many on the Government benches and adored by Remainers.

He has overseen a number of huge reforms in Parliament but has also been at the centre of an ugly bullying row – accusations he has long denied.

Over the weekend, the Tories announced plans to stand a candidate against Bercow in his Buckingham constituency.

Normally the other parties do not stand against the Speaker in an election – though it’s not a strict precedent, the SNP stood against Michael Martin in 2001 and 2005.

Wishart yesterday told Sky News he was considering a run at the job.

He previously floated a bid back in May, launching a manifesto that included promising to introduce electronic voting to end the current “medieval parliamentary” system.

An SNP source said if Wishart (pictured above) did become Speaker the party wouldn’t stand a candidate against him in his Perth constituency at the next election.

Other names in the running include independent Frank Field, Labour’s Harriet Harman and Tory Eleanor Laing – whose campaign, it’s understood, is being run by Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson.

However, the favourite for the job is current deputy speaker, Lindsay Hoyle. The Labour MP for Chorley, well-liked by all sides in the Commons, announced his candidacy on Twitter .

He said: “As Members of Parliament we are clearly in unprecedented times and it will be vital to have an experienced Speaker who can provide the stability and leadership the House of Commons requires in order to remain at the centre to our political system.”

Who will replace Bercow?

  • Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Labour, chairman of ways and means, 62. Hoyle has been the most senior deputy speaker since 2010, presiding over budget debates.
  • Harriet Harman, Labour, former deputy leader and leader of the Commons, 69. The Mother of the House, longest-serving female MP is expected to stand.
  • Dame Eleanor Laing, Tory, first deputy chairman of ways and means, 61. Another deputy speakers, the Renfrewshire raised MP also enjoys support across the Commons.
  • Sir Edward Leigh, Tory, 69. Has promised to be a “traditional speaker who does not speak much”.
  • Pete Wishart, SNP, 57. Would be first speaker to “emerge from beyond the two main parties” since Second World War. Would allow MPs to use other MPs’ names in the chamber.
  • Chris Bryant, Labour, 57. Previously announced intention to run, telling the House magazine he would “do everything in my power not to belittle MPs from the chair”.