John Bercow quits Tories to join Labour, saying: 'This government needs to be replaced'

·2-min read

Former Conservative MP and Commons Speaker John Bercow says he has switched allegiances to join the Labour Party.

Mr Bercow said he regards the Tories under Boris Johnson as "reactionary, populist, nationalistic and sometimes even xenophobic".

"I am motivated by support for equality, social justice and internationalism. That is the Labour brand," he told The Observer.

"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 said he had joined Labour in recent weeks.

He served as a Tory MP for Buckingham from 1997 until he was elected Speaker in 2009, a role he held for a decade before stepping down in October 2019.

But his career was dogged by staff allegations of bullying, accusations he always denied.

Mr Bercow was also accused by Brexiteer MPs of being biased in favour of the Remain side of the Brexit debate.

The Labour leader's office declined to comment on Mr Bercow joining the party but shadow justice minister Karl Turner said he was unsurprised but "delighted" that his "friend" had joined Labour.

John McDonnell was shadow chancellor during Jeremy Corbyn's time as Labour leader and said Mr Bercow had been "scrupulously fair" in his treatment of MPs.

"He won our respect, especially for his fight to protect the rights of parliament. I wholeheartedly welcome him into the Labour Party," Mr McDonnell said.

On the Conservative side, however, pensions minister Guy Opperman said: "Labour are welcome to Bercow."

A senior government source said: "This will surprise nobody and shows Labour is still the party of Remain."

John Bercow will be on Trevor Phillips On Sunday from 8.30am this morning on Sky News.

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