John was elected as the 157th Speaker of the House of Commons on 22nd June 2009. He has been the Member of Parliament for Buckingham since May 1997.
In June 1999, he was appointed Front Bench Spokesman for Education & Employment. In July 2000, he was appointed Front Bench Spokesman for Home Affairs. In September 2001, he was appointed Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. From July 2002 to November 2002 he was Shadow Minister for Work & Pensions. From November 2003 to September 2004, he was Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.
John has served as member of the International Development Select Committee, he co-chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group on Burma, and was vice-Chair of the All Party Groups on the Prevention of Genocide, Africa and Sudan, and Secretary of the All Party Group on Human Rights. In July 2005, John established the All Party Group on Brain Tumours to raise awareness of issues surrounding brain tumour care.
In September 2007, John was appointed by Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, to lead a review of services for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. The final report of the Review was published in July 2008.
John was appointed to the Speaker's Conference on Parliamentary Representation in November 2008.
In November 1998, John was given the award of Backbencher to Watch in The Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards. In February 2005, in a ballot of his parliamentary colleagues, he won the Channel Four / Hansard Society Political Award for Opposition MP of the Year for 2005. In December 2005, John was voted the Backbencher of the Year in The House Magazine awards. John was named Health / International Champion of the Year at the Charity Champion Awards 2007.
John was alerted to the plight of brain tumours in January 2004, by a constituent and was particularly touched by the stories of children. `There can surely be few more tragic or heartbreaking experiences than for a parent to discover that his or her child has a brain tumour'.
In April 2004 he led the first ever debate on brain tumours in the House of Commons and was shocked at how little attention had been paid to brain tumours before that. ‘I put it to the House that the issue of children with brain tumours is under- debated under-reported and under-funded. In this Parliament, the issue has attracted minimal— dare I say it, derisory—attention. There has been, not one adjournment debate until now, not one oral parliamentary question, and only two written parliamentary questions!’
Furthermore within the debate he went on to say ‘While the media have justifiably devoted coverage to other cancers, they have seemingly overlooked the plight of children diagnosed with brain tumours, giving scant coverage to that plight. The apparent low incidence of this type of cancer, by comparison with other forms, has caused the brain tumour community to be poorly supported and funded’
John has been a champion of the cause (of both adult and childhood brain tumours) within parliament ever since, establishing the brain tumour All Party Parliamentary Group in July 2005.