Ex-Speaker John Bercow defects to Labour Party, citing 'xenophobia' in Conservative Party

Bercow was the subject of ire from Brexit-supporting MPs during his time as Speaker.Bercow was the subject of ire from Brexit-supporting MPs during his time as Speaker.
Bercow was the subject of ire from Brexit-supporting MPs during his time as Speaker.
Bercow was Speaker of the House of Commons from 2009 to 2019.

Former Conservative MP and commons speaker John Bercow has defected to the Labour Party saying he regards the Conservative Party under Boris Johnson as “reactionary, populist, nationalistic and sometimes even xenophobic”.

His announcement came on Saturday, June 19, with the speaker telling the Observer newspaper: “I am motivated by support for equality, social justice and internationalism. That is the Labour brand,” he told the Observer.

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He continued: “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 was a Tory MP for 12 years before being elected as Speaker in 2009.

His career was marked by allegations of bullying from parliamentary staff, which Bercow denied.

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Brexit-supporting MPs also derided Bercow, believing he favoured Remain and that his rulings during his time as Speaker reflected this.

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In September 2019, he announced his intention to stand down from the role, as well as MP for Buckingham, and vacated the Speaker’s chair at the end of October that year.

He claimed last year there was a “conspiracy” to stop him getting a seat in the House of Lords.

Labour nominated him for a peerage after the Tories declined to do so, breaking with the long-standing convention that Speakers are elevated once they retire.

Asked if there is the possibility of being recommended for a peerage by Sir Keir Starmer, Mr Bercow told the Observer: “There has been no such discussion and I have asked for no such thing. This isn’t about revenge. That is not what motivates me.”

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The Labour leader’s office did not comment on Bercow joining the party.

On the Conservative side, however, pensions minister Guy Opperman said it was “from bad to worse for” Sir Kier, adding: “Labour are welcome to Bercow.”

A senior Government source said: “This will surprise nobody and shows Labour is still the party of Remain.”

Additional reporting by PA.

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