John Bercow will step down as Commons speaker next summer, it has been reported just a day after an inquiry into Westminster bullying called for Parliament to be put under new management.
Bercow has told friends he will quit his position in June or July 2019 according to the BBC, a date which has been rumoured for his departure since earlier this year.
A spokeswoman for the Speaker did not rule out a departure within nine months, but added the Bercow would tell MPs his plans first.
The reports come after an inquiry carried out by Dame Laura Cox QC revealed shocking details of female workers in Parliament being groped, widespread bullying, and a culture of tolerance “cascading from the top down”.
Dame Laura said she could not see how proper reform could be carried out “under the current senior House administration” – including the Speaker’s office.
During an urgent debate on the report in the Commons, numerous MPs called for Bercow – who denies accusations he has bullied members of staff – to quit.
Some MPs defended the Speaker, accusing those agitating for his removal of using the harassment issue for political purposes.
Ahead of the debate, Bercow called for an independent body to be set up to rule on matters of misconduct, harassment and bullying.
The calls for Bercow, who has been Speaker since 2009, to step down were led by Conservative MP Maria Miller, chair of the women and equalities select committee.
She said: “The report is clear that there needs to be a complete change in leadership at the most senior level, including you, Mr Speaker, as chief officer, if we are, in Dame Laura’s words, to press the reset button.”
Fellow Tory MP James Duddridge, a long-standing critic of Bercow, added his voice to calls for him to quit.
He said: “Taunting, mocking, mimicking, deliberately belittling in front of other Members, making offensive personal comments about appearance, belittling someone’s junior status, making lengthy and humiliating tirades of abuse in front of colleagues. How can we encourage Mr Speaker to stop this behaviour?”
Labour MP Jess Phillips was infuriated by Duddridge’s remarks, saying that the Tory MP was neither “right” nor “honourable” in her opinion.
She said: “Some of us don’t actually care who is the offender, it is the victims that we care about and we will not use it for political gain and nothing fills the victims with more dread than when people play with their feelings.
“So don’t do it, don’t do it in here, don’t do it for them, you are speaking only for yourself.”
Phillips went on to say she did not believe any material change would come to how Parliament operated, adding: “The same 12 people, and we all know exactly who they are and exactly how they are getting away with it, won’t just be walking around for the next 20 years.”
Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom told MPs changes had been introduced to Parliament since July, including a new complaints and grievance policy and specific phone lines for staff to report incidents.
Commenting on reports of Bercow stepping down next year, a spokeswoman said: "The Speaker was elected by the House in 2017 for the course of the Parliament. In the event he has anything to say on his future plans, he will make an announcement to the House first."