JOHN Bercow has told friends he will stand down as Commons Speaker next summer as he faced calls to quit now in the wake of the damning report into Westminster’s culture of bullying.

A departure in June or July would coincide with the Buckingham MP’s tenth year in the parliamentary office.

Speculation will begin about a possible successor. Harriet Harman, the former deputy Labour leader, has made clear her interest in the role, saying she would “consider it at the time” when Mr Bercow formally announced his decision to step down.

One source said: "He doesn't want it to look as if he's been forced out but it may be it won't be enough and some people will insist he goes much sooner."

His 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."

The suggestion about Mr Bercow’s intention to relinquish his role came as MPs debated the report by the High Court judge Dame Laura Cox QC, which found a culture of "deference, subservience, acquiescence and silence" had allowed the mistreatment of Commons staff to thrive.

Mr Bercow has also faced claims he bullied two former officials; allegations he strongly denies.

During Commons exchanges following the granting by the Speaker of an Urgent Question on the Cox report, Conservative backbencher Maria Miller told Mr Bercow to his face that he should step down.

The Chairwoman of the Commons Women and Equalities Committee 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."

Labour's Jess Phillips called for a "massive overhaul" of the Commons management.

In a fiery intervention, the Birmingham MP said: "Nothing I have heard today fills me with any hope that politics will be taken out of this and that 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."

For his own part, Mr Bercow told MPs he wanted complaints in the Commons about bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct to be investigated by an independent, outside body.

Outwith the chamber, Labour’s Emily Thornberry said it was “absolutely not the time” to install a new Speaker.

The Shadow Foreign Secretary told Sky News: "We don't know, for example, with regard to Brexit, as to what is going to happen.”

Commons veteran Frank Field praised Mr Bercow but also urged him to consider standing down, telling the BBC: "Please John, think about your position during this ninth year and go out as, probably, the greatest reforming Speaker we have ever had. If not, everything is going to go pear-shaped.”