Bercow greets new ‘comrades’ in Labour, leaving behind Tory roots

By Guillermo Ximenis

Brighton, UK, Sep 28 (EFE).- The former speaker of the United Kingdom’s House of Commons John Bercow addressed his new “comrades” at the Labour Party conference after joining the center-left outfit, which is currently the official opposition in Parliament.

In his youth, Bercow was a supporter of former Conservative Party prime minister Margaret Thatcher and became a member of the Tories at just 17. He flirted with the party’s right-wing faction at first before sliding to its liberal groups by 2000 until, as per the rules, he suspended his membership when he became the Speaker of the House of Commons in 2009.

It was then he became notorious for his calls to “Order! Order!” and, since stepping down from the role of parliamentary referee in 2019, he has drifted even further from his Tory roots.

“I’ve joined the Labour Party because I believe in fairness, the extension of opportunity, social justice, and internationalism. And I think that those values are the values that should inform the politics of this country. They don’t at the moment, and they should in the future,” he told Efe.

“And if you want those values, if you want them translated into a narrative and a set of policies that will help the majority of people, your place is in the Labour Party.”

Bercow’s time as Speaker of the House of Commons coincided with Brexit, one of the greatest upheavals in the UK’s recent political history. His efforts holding the government of Theresa May to account as the then-prime minister tried to pass Brexit policies earned him critics among Tory ranks in the chamber.

The Labour Party has been plunged in a cycle of in-fighting for years as left and right factions tussle for power but Bercow’s presence at the party conference in Brighton, southern England, seems to have been accepted across the board.

The only boos from the crowd during his speech came when he lauded Arsenal’s latest victory in the Premier League and not when he mentioned his relationship with Thatcher.

He was applauded Monday when he addressed the audience as “comrades,” a sign that he would be welcome in the Labour Party, where he will become one of its most recognizable figures despite not holding a position of decision-making power. EFE


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