Top British MP to deliver UCC lecture

One of the most influential figures in British politics is set to deliver a prestigious lecture in Cork next month.

MP John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons, will deliver the 14th annual Philip Monahan Memorial Lecture in University College Cork on Feb 28.

Dr Aodh Quinlivan, of the university’s Department of Government, described it as “a tremendous coup” for the department.

“We are delighted to have attracted another high-quality speaker for the Monahan Lecture to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Mary McAleese and John Hume,” he said.

Mr Bercow, 49, is one of the highest- ranking political figures in Britain, and is also one of the best-paid thanks to his role.

He determines who speaks, and when, in the House of Commons. No MP, not even the prime minister, may speak without his prior permission and he has the power to punish members who do not obey him.

A qualified tennis coach, he was recently voted politician of the year by the UK Political Studies Association.

Bercow, the first Jewish speaker of the house, has also attracted controversy. He was at the centre of an expenses scandal about the designation of his ‘main home’ and a tax avoidance issue.

His wife Sally took part in Celebrity Big Brother in 2011, a decision which was said to have embarrassed and annoyed her husband.

The Philip Monahan Memorial lecture series celebrates the memory of Ireland’s first local authority manager. Monahan served as city commissioner and then city manager in Cork from 1924 to 1959.

Mr Quinlivan said Monahan set the highest standards of probity and integrity in public administration and he defined the role of city manager and the practice of public management in Ireland.

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