Former SpeakerJohn Bercow switches allegiance to Labour

·2 min read
Former Speaker John Bercow  (PA Archive)
Former Speaker John Bercow (PA Archive)

John Bercow, the former Conservative MP who became the scourge of Brexiteers as Commons Speaker, says he has switched allegiances to join the Labour Party.

Mr Bercow said he regards the Tories under Boris Johnson as “reactionary, populist, nationalistic and sometimes even xenophobic”.

Having stepped down as Speaker in 2019, he announced on Saturday that he joined Labour in recent weeks.

“I am motivated by support for equality, social justice and internationalism. That is the Labour brand,” he told the Observer.

“The conclusion I have reached is that this Government needs to be replaced. The reality is that the Labour Party is the only vehicle that can achieve that objective. There is no other credible option.”

Bercow joined the Conservative party aged 17 and describes himself as having once been a “rabid right winger”.

When he became Speaker in 2009 convention dictated that he had to resign his party membership.

His wife, Sally has long been a member of the Labour Party and was candidate at a Westminster council election.

Referring to the Liberal Democrats shock victory in the Chesham and Amersham by-election he told the Observer: “I think what it [the by election result tells us is that there is very considerable distrust on the part of voters in the south of England of this government. I don’t accept the thesis that this was just an anti-HS2 vote. I think that is very convenient for the government, but it suffers from the disadvantage of being wrong. I think people in very large numbers are disappointed, in some cases disgusted, by what this government has done.”

After being elected as the 157th Speaker of the House of Commons in June 2009, he delivered many caustic put-downs, earning him both loathing and appreciative laughter from MPs.

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