First Jewish Speaker for Britain's House of Commons

Conservative MP John Bercow beat nine other candidates in race to succeed Michael Martin.

Britain's parliament got its first ever Jewish speaker of the house this week, with the election of Conservative MP John Bercow to replace disgraced Labourite Michael Martin.

Martin resigned last month over the expences scandal that has rocked the British political world.

Bercow beat nine other candidates in three rounds of voting, despite a lack of support from his own party, winning the final ballot with 322 votes to 271.

The new speaker has been MP for Buckingham since 1997.

Bercow, a 46-year-old father of three, was born to a Jewish middle-class family in the north London neighborhood of Finchley. In 2001, he visited Israel on the invite of a Jewish friend from the Conservative party.

Many of Bercow's supporters expect him to pursue reforms meant to restore public faith in government following the expences scandal.