Critics of Angela Rayner ‘scum’ comments should stay off ‘moral high horse’, John Bercow says

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
John Bercow spoke at Labour conference (FILE PHOTO)  (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
John Bercow spoke at Labour conference (FILE PHOTO) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

People condemning Angela Rayner for her comments about Tories should stay off their "moral high horse", John Bercow has said.

Speaking at a fringe event at Labour's annual conference in Brighton the former Speaker said he would not have chosen Ms Rayner's form of words when she berated Tory "scum".

But he said the party's deputy leader was "passionate" and "angry" about what the Conservative government had done to the country.

"I wouldn't have used that term, but I think that people are passionate: I know Angela well and she's a passionate person and she believes in her values and she feels very, very angry about what is being done to this country by a Conservative government," he said.

"Do I think Angela Rayner, should be damned to perdition for that one comment? Absolutely not. I think Angela Rayner is a damn good person, she's got strong and good values. I wouldn't have used that expression but I don't think we should get on our moral high horses about it."

Ms Rayner on Monday stood by her comments in which she described Conservatives as “homophobic, racist, misogynistic scum” – adding that said she would happily sit down with Boris Johnson to discuss his history of racist comments.

But senior Tories accused her of "throwing insults" and "talking crap".

Mr Bercow announced this summer that he had jointed the Labour party after a long career as the neutral Commons speaker – and before that a Conservative MP.

He came to his highest prominence during the course of Britain's departure from the European Union, where he helped backbenchers hold Theresa May's minority government to account.

Addressing the issue, Mr Bercow told the audience in Brighton a hard Brexit could have been stopped if Remain campaigners had compromised and worked together.

The former Speaker said those in favour of a second referendum should have reached beyond their "first preference" and considered a soft Brexit.

He pointed to a series of indicative votes taken in the House of Commons during which MPs were asked to select from a series of options.

During the votes some MPs, including short-lived centrist party Change UK voted for a second referendum but not for options to stay in the single market or customs union.

As a result there was no majority of the House of Commons for an alternative to the government's plan for a full break with the EU.

Commenting on Labour, Mr Bercow said he thought Keir Starmer was "a good guy" but that the party needed "clear policies".

He said the opposition party should "craft a vision of how Britain will look different and be better with Labour values". He also backed Labour's policy to tax private education but said Labour needed "excite people".

Mr Bercow said he had no interest in a career in Labour and did not intend to stand for parliament again. He said he “absolutely” intended to join a trade union in the near future but had not done so yet.

Read More

Burnham jokes he’ll put on a Warehouse Project night for Gove

Unions block Labour from backing PR despite mass support from members

Labour frontbencher quits after Keir Starmer orders him to oppose higher minimum wage

What is Article 16 and what happens if UK triggers it?

Minister says army not needed for fuel crisis ‘at the moment’

EU drivers won’t help UK ‘get out of the s***’, says European union

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting