JOHN Bercow has dramatically switched allegiances to join the Labour party – after spending years as a Conservative MP.
The former speaker of the House of Commons, 58, said he joined the party as the “Government needs to be replaced”.
What did John Bercow say about Boris Johnson?
Mr Bercow, who stepped down as Speaker after 10 years in 2019, launched a withering attack on Boris Johnson’s Tory party.
In an interview with The Observer, he branded the party “reactionary, populist, nationalistic and sometimes even xenophobic”.
Asked about Mr Johnson, he said: “He is a successful campaigner but a lousy governor.
“I don’t think he has any vision of a more equitable society, any thirst for social mobility or any passion to better the lot of people less fortunate than he is.
“I think increasingly people are sick of lies, sick of empty slogans, sick of a failure to deliver.’’
When did John Bercow defect to Labour?
John Bercow announced that he had defected to Labour on Saturday, June 19 in an interview with The Observer, saying he had joined the party a few weeks ago.
He told the newspaper: “I am motivated by support for equality, social justice and internationalism. That is the Labour brand.
“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.”
Mr Bercow had previously been a Tory MP for Buckingham between 1997 and 2019.
What is John Bercow’s new role?
It is unclear what role Mr Bercow will play and whether he will run as an MP.
But with such a high-profile in Westminster, it is expected that he will be a useful asset to Keir Starmer as he seeks to revive Labour’s campaign heading into the 2024 general election.
In September 2019, Mr Bercow announced his intention to stand down as speaker at the House of Commons, as well as MP for Buckingham.
Labour figures have welcomed Mr Bercow’s announcement, with former shadow chancellor John McDonnell saying the ex-speaker had “won the respect” of MPs.
Shadow justice minister Karl Turner said he was “delighted” that Mr Bercow had joined the party.
It is not known whether Mr Bercow will be nominated for a peerage as a Labour member.
The Tory party did not nominate Mr Bercow for a peerage, as is custom for a retired speaker, amid allegations that he bullied parliamentary staff, which he has always denied.