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Orderrrr! What former Speaker of the House John Bercow really thinks now he’s free

Released from the shackles of office, Bercow told a packed room at The Negotiator Conference on Friday his views on Brexit, the General Election and accusations that he was not impartial as a speaker.

Nigel Lewis

Just a few weeks after leaving his job as Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow entranced an initially sceptical audience during Friday’s Negotiator Conference, revealing opinions on Brexit, Boris Johnson, his impartiality, who will win the election. Here’s our summary of his fascinating and sometimes electrifying presentation.

Brexit

“If the Conservatives can get an overall majority of at least 15 or 20 then phase one of Brexit (the transposition into law of the withdrawal agreement) will happen within a few weeks of the election.

“If that for you ladies and gentlemen means ‘getting Brexit done’ then great. But remember it’s just an important first stage that will work out the divorce bill and sort out the Northern Ireland question.

“But getting the trade agreements with the EU, the US and the rest of the world completed will then have to be sorted out – along with agreements on security, climate change, human trafficking and identity theft, for example.

“This will all take five years but the final sorting out of Brexit will take another ten years so it is perfectly conceivable that we will be debating Brexit for the next 15 years.

“I am happy now to tell you, now that I am free of the constraints of office, to say that my honest opinion is – and I respect the opinion of those who disagree with me – that Brexit is the greatest foreign policy blunder of the post war period.

“It is bad for the country – we may be able to offset its worst effects – but it remains a mistake and across Europe people are puzzled why we have chosen to leave one of the biggest power blocks in the world and our biggest trade partner.  It is a monumental folly.”

General Election

“I won’t sit on the fence. As things stand the Conservatives are heading for a majority in double figures, and possibly more, although this depends on the outcome within 100 key margin constituencies.

“The ‘Let’s get Brexit done’ message resonates with voters fatigued by Brexit. I completely understand.”

Impartiality

“The speaker’s job is not be a nodding donkey or craven lickspittle for the government but instead to stand up for MPs individually and parliament institutionally,” he said.

“I wasn’t pro government or pro opposition; I was pro parliament. I accept that parliament has been much criticised, but it was discharging its duty to look at and question, probe and challenge and sometimes contradict the government of the day.

“Politicians are always accused of not doing what they say they will do after gaining power, but I hope that I have done what I did promise to do, even if it meant getting some flack and making controversial decisions and becoming a marmite character.”

December 2, 2019

4 comments

  1. Hi Julian and Nigel, I was in the audience at the conference and thought John for 98% of his very engaging ‘Ted talk on steroids’ – on being a speaker and of course Brexit and the election, he was extremely non-political, only voicing his own views on Brexit as almost an aside. I also feel that everyone would be interested to know John Bercow’s position as well, given he is not standing for election and so could comment on his own view. It was a very humorous, and witty talk, which would have been of great interest to anyone, whichever side of the political spectrum they came from.

  2. Thanks Julian – take your point. But we would have published this article whatever his views; and love him or loathe him for his outlook on Brexit, he was at the centre of British politics for ten years.
    More importantly, he also talked about will happen as we exit the EU and how long it will take, which is crucial for estate agents to understand because the process has a profound effect on the housing market.

    • His comments are just his opinion (skewed of course) and are more general fiscal economics related, of which where do you draw the line on relevancy.
      The housing market however has been more destroyed initially by stamp duty and taxation on private landlords (ripping the rug out of the lower market) than anything Bercow says; in fact it’s his meddling and that of remoan MPs that has caused this year of total shambles and taken uncertainly levels though the roof. Had they just got on with it and stuck to the decision and left, good or bad, it would have been less uncertain than it has been. Uncertainty is worse than certainty and he and others have created a ton of it.

  3. A total disgrace of an individual, what has this article even got to do with Estate Agency exactly? Nothing. If he were pro-Brexit, would you have published it? No.

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