John Simon Bercow is a British politician who has been the Speaker of the House of Commons since June 2009. Prior to his election to Speaker, he was a member of the Conservative Party. A former hardline right-winger who changed his views after becoming an MP and at one time was rumoured to be likely to defect to the Labour Party, Bercow's election to the Speaker's chair depended heavily on the backing of other parties, and was deeply unpopular with many of his former Conservative Party colleagues.He served as a councillor from 1986 to 1990 and unsuccessfully contested parliamentary seats in the 1987 and 1992 general elections. In the 1997 general election, Bercow was elected the MP for Buckingham and promoted to the shadow cabinet in 2001. He held posts in the shadow cabinets of Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard.