MPs have raised concerns that John Bercow will be given a secure seat in the House of Commons after announcing he is joining Labor with a brutal blow to Boris Johnson.
The former president declared his allegiance by accusing the prime minister of having only “knowledge nodding his head with the truth”.
He also called the government “reactionary, populist, nationalist and sometimes even xenophobic”, while categorically denying that it was motivated by the desire for a peerage – something which the conservatives have so far blocked.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland shrugged, suggesting they had “diminished” Mr Bercow’s “authority”.
But there was immediate speculation that Mr Bercow was being lined up for a shock return to the Commons representing Labor. A high-ranking MP said he suspected he would be parachuted into a constituency in London, where he has many allies.
Another warned Mr Bercow would not be an ‘asset’ to Sir Keir as he desperately tries to reclaim the Brexit voting areas in the Red Wall.
Sources close to the leader insisted that the idea that Mr Bercow would get a safe seat was “pure hogwash”.
Mr Bercow – who was a Tory MP before becoming Speaker of the House of Commons in 2009 – sparked fury on the Tory benches for what they saw as bias in handling the Brexit feuds.
He finally left the allegedly impartial post in November 2019.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland (left) shrugged as former President John Bercow (right) stepped up his attack on the Prime Minister in a TV interview
Westminster sources have confirmed that John Bercow, accused as president of repeated pro-rest bias, had joined the party for the past four weeks, with his name recently appearing on a list of “new members”.
Former leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is a member of the Labor Party but was suspended from the parliamentary party for anti-Semitism, tweeted his support for Mr Bercow
The transition to the Labor Party completes an extraordinary political journey for Mr Bercow, initially elected Conservative MP, from avowed “hard right” politics in his youth to a Labor member.
It also marks a marked departure from the tradition that Speakers of the House of Commons, who relinquish their political affiliation in taking up this post, remain impartial by retiring to the Lords as interbank peers.
Mr Bercow told the Trevor Phillips program on Sky News: “This is not personal against Boris Johnson. I think he is someone who has only a nodding knowledge of the truth over the course of ‘a leap year, and I think the utter disregard with which he has treated Parliament is lamentable, and I think he has exacerbated the very strong resentment towards him, because I think a lot of people think it wasn’t. is not the right way to behave.
“To speak the truth in and to Parliament’s business, to circumvent Parliament is wrong, to treat Parliament with disdain is reprehensible, but no, I have long since changed my political thinking.
“I have not been a member of a party throughout my term as a speaker because it would have been absolutely wrong to be.
“I didn’t take a shot. I have sought to help the House of Commons express its point of view and all members of the House to make their views known because it is the speaker’s responsibility.
“Now that I am a private citizen, as Robert Buckland says, I have the right to have a political opinion. And my view is a view to the left of the center. I identify with work values, work principles, work policies. ‘
Mr Bercow dodged, saying whether he would accept a peerage if Labor offered it again.
Last year, the 58-year-old was denied elevation to Lords amid allegations – which he dismissed – that he intimidated staff while overseeing Commons proceedings.
Conservative critics pointed out last night that it was former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn who proposed him for the Lords, and suggested joining the party now was an attempt to rekindle his peerage hopes.
But Mr Bercow said: ‘I have had absolutely no discussion whatsoever with Keir Starmer or any member of the Labor leadership about this.
“There was no barter, no trade, no deal.
“It’s not in my head, it’s not part of the game plan, I haven’t discussed it, I’m not expecting it. What motivates me is a commitment to the equality, social justice and internationalism. ‘
Mr Buckland said Mr Bercow was “a private citizen” and “authorized to make decisions about his policy”.
“But I think his membership in a political party actually has the effect of diminishing the strength of his voice in politics, as strong as he likes it,” he told Sky News.
Mr Buckland said he “strongly disagrees” with the former Tory MP’s characterization that the party is “xenophobic” today.
A senior government source said: “It will come as no surprise and shows that Labor is still Remain’s party.”
Speculation was sparked within Labor today over Mr Bercow’s return to the political frontline in the Commons. “I suspect London Labor, which is so remain, of offering him a secure seat,” said a senior MP. “Harriet (Harman) and company will probably support him.”
Another MP said: “He’s a weird guy… I don’t think it’s a good asset for us to have him. Everything revolves around him.
It is understood that party headquarters were unaware that Mr Bercow was applying for membership until his name was on a list of new members. .
Former leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is a member of the Labor Party but was suspended from the parliamentary party for anti-Semitism, tweeted his support for Mr Bercow.
“As President, John Bercow defended Parliament during one of the most turbulent times in British politics. I look forward to campaigning with him for social justice and peace in the future, ”he said.
Mr Bercow, who infuriated Brexiteer MPs as president by revealing he voted for Remain, declined repeated requests to comment on the Mail on Sunday last week.
But in an interview with the Left-wing Observer newspaper, the former president admitted he had joined Sir Keir Starmer’s party and launched a savage attack on Boris Johnson’s Tories, rejecting the party he belonged to for many years. many years as “reactionary, populist, nationalist and sometimes even xenophobic”.
Mr Bercow said he joined Labor because he now shares its values and sees it as the only way to remove the current government.
He also called Mr Johnson a “successful activist but a lousy governor”.
Union sources insisted there was “no deal” for Mr Bercow to be nominated for a peerage by Sir Keir, or for any other party post.
His stint in the Labor Party completes an extraordinary political journey for Mr Bercow, originally elected Conservative MP, from an avowed “hard right” policy in his youth to a Labor member.
Mr Bercow was elected president in 2009, when he was already prepared to abandon many of his Tory tenets to win the votes of Labor MPs, anxious to install a president ahead of the 2010 general election that would cause problems if the conservatives were gaining power.
He is said to have won the support of many Labor MPs when he was once a member of the controversial right-wing conservative Monday Club lobby group.
In his autobiography, Mr Bercow goes out of his way to disavow his “monday club banter”, claiming it was a “most shameful decision” and referring to how he had “zealously pursued my ugly brand of politics. hard right “.
Mr Bercow added that he left the group at the age of 21 and that he “had for decades subscribed to a much more dominant and progressive view of multiracial Britain”.
He was elected Member of Parliament for Buckingham in 1997 and in his first speech in the House of Commons he hailed Margaret Thatcher – who died in 2013 – as “the greatest living statesman in the world”.
Last year Mr Bercow, 58, was denied a peerage amid reports he was being investigated over allegations – which he dismissed – that he intimidated staff while overseeing House of Commons procedures.
Last night Tory MP and former Brexit Minister David Jones asked how this would go with the ex-president’s new Labor colleagues.
Mr Jones added: “John Bercow is simply removing any doubts about the pro-Labor and anti-Brexit leanings he has evidently harbored for some time. In fact, given how biased he was as president , perhaps the only surprise is that he did not join the Socialists earlier.
“I can only assume that he hopes that by paying his dues Sir Keir will follow through on Jeremy Corbyn’s offer to send him to the Lords.”
Tory Brexiteer Peter Bone said: “I think John Bercow will be quite comfortable in the leftist, elitist, anti-Brexit organization that is Sir Keir’s Labor Party.”
But pro-Remain Labor MP Neil Coyle welcomed the move last night, saying: “Personally, I would welcome any other former Tory who wishes to join us.”