W&N to publish John Bercow’s ‘grippingly candid’ memoir, UNSPEAKABLE

John Bercow
© Stefan Rousseau

Weidenfeld & Nicolson today [12 November 2019] announces the acquisition of UK and Commonwealth rights from Andrew Gordon of David Higham Associates to publish UNSPEAKABLE by John Bercow on 6 February 2020.

UNSPEAKABLE is John Bercow’s characteristically forthright and incisive account of his unique vantage-point into British politics. Containing verdicts on many of the leading figures of this era, from Tony Blair to David Cameron, Theresa May, and Boris Johnson, Bercow 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.

John Bercow says: ‘I am delighted that Weidenfeld & Nicolson has agreed to publish my account of a life in politics. 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.’

From the start, Bercow tackles head-on his regretted fascination with definably right-wing attitudes and describes his inexorable march to more progressive thinking since his election as Member of Parliament for Buckingham in 1997. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the business of politics and how our democracy is – or should be – run, with fascinating insights into Bercow’s family background and early interest in politics.

When Bercow retired as Speaker of the House of Commons on 31st October, he had become one of the most recognisable and iconoclastic figures in British politics, and had created a vacancy of huge importance. As Speaker since 2009 he had a ringside seat during one of the most febrile periods in modern British history, presiding over the Commons while it had to contend with key issues such as austerity in the light of the financial crisis; the coalition government between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats; and of course the most intractable problem of all – how to deliver on the 2016 referendum decision that Britain should leave the EU.

Alan Samson, Chairman of W&N, says: ‘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.’

UNSPEAKABLE by John Bercow will be published in hardback, ebook and audio by W&N priced £20 on Thursday 6 February 2020.