John Bercow Issues Fresh Brexit Warning To Boris Johnson While Hitting US Speaking Circuit

Graeme Demianyk

John Bercow has issued a defiant warning to Boris Johnson over any attempt to ride roughshod over parliament to deliver Brexit, telling an audience in New York that MPs “cannot be rejected from the centre stage”.

The Speaker of the House of Commons told students at the American city’s university that “no force on earth” to break the deadlock over leaving the European Union could ignore parliament.

Bercow has announced that he will stand down as speaker at the end of next month.

In recent months he has also come under fire for a series of controversial rulings in the chamber which were widely considered to favour Remain supporters.

Bercow has previously warned MPs were ready to use “procedural creativity” in the Commons to block the prime minister if he tried to force through a no-deal Brexit in breach of legislation passed by MPs in recent weeks.

He has also compared the prospect of Johnson ignoring a law to block a no-deal Brexit to “robbing a bank”

Bercow said at New York University: “There are three ways to proceed in relation to Brexit: leave with a deal, leave by resolution of parliament with no deal, or put the matter back into the melting pot.

“I am not arguing for one course of action in this circumstance as against another.

“What I am arguing is that in a parliamentary democracy, parliament cannot be rejected from the centre stage of the attempted dispute resolution process and the pursuit of closure on the matter of Brexit.

“No force on earth is going to stop parliament in a parliamentary democracy from deciding what course it decides to chart.”

Bercow entered parliament in 1997 as a Conservative MP and held several shadow ministerial positions before taking the speaker’s chair in 2009, promising to serve “no more than nine years in total”.

He abandoned that commitment ahead of the 2017 snap election, but allegations of bullying by former members of his staff, denied by the speaker, led to fresh calls for him to quit.

At the New York University event, he was introduced as being known for his “quick wit” and the audience was played the clip of Stephen Colbert, the host of The Late Show, impersonating Bercow’s takedown of Michael Gove, while wishing US politicians would take a similar approach.

UPDATE: Story was corrected to Bercow saying “no force on earth is going to stop parliament in a parliamentary democracy” rather than “no course on earth”

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