Bercow from the UK talks about Trump, defines Brexit as a "historical mistake"


John Bercow is not a man of few words.

And now that he has been freed from the forced neutrality of his work as president of the British House of Commons, he has several things to say. Brexit? A historical mistake. Donald Trump? A leader who said things "repulsive and contemptible".

"I am now free to say what I think," said Bercow, who retired last week after a decade of daily work and debates in the lower house of Parliament. The spokesman's work made Bercow a global celebrity, while people from around the world tuned in to watch him hurt the Brexit parliamentary battles with shouts of "Or-derrr!"

He thinks that leaving the European Union is the "biggest mistake of Britain's foreign policy" after the Second World War, a mistake that will leave the country weakened economically and diplomatically.

"We are in a world of power blocs and trade blocs," Bercow told the Associated Press on Thursday in an interview. "And it makes more sense that the UK is part of that power bloc called the European Union and part of that trading bloc called the European Union."

He is not arguing that Brexit would "generate mass poverty", although most economic forecasts state that it would damage the economy.

"But I think we will suffer in commercial terms and suffer in terms of position and global influence," Bercow said. "The best course for the UK is to stay."

Bercow's words will confirm the suspicions of the critics who accused him of favoring the opponents of Brexit while he was in the Parlator's chair.

He denies showing bias – "I have facilitated all the voices and all the opinions on Brexit" – but he fully recognizes that he has interpreted Parliament's rules so as to allow legislators to take control of the agenda at key points.

The result is that, three and a half years after British voters chose 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the EU, many attempts by the government to complete the Brexit have failed.

WATCH: What John Bercow said when the recent suspension of the Parliament came into effect

A group of parliamentarians from the opposition in the UK parliament raised the placards with the word "silenced" before House President John Bercow during the closing ceremony, when the suspension of Parliament took effect. 1 o'clock

Some British politicians – even some of those who voted in 2016 to remain in the bloc – now say that the country must honor the result of the referendum. But Bercow insists on the 2016 vote "is not the last word on the topic" and states that it would be democratic to hold a new public vote on membership in the EU.

"In 2016, people voted with a limited margin for departure, but did not vote for a destination," said Bercow, who also resigned as a Member of Parliament after 22 years. "There was no consensus, and there is no consensus now. And it's a big disagreement about the kind of Brexit that should be there."

Britain is currently in the midst of a Brexit-dominated election campaign, with all 650 seats in the House of Commons up for grabs in the December 12 vote.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pushed for early voting after Parliament has opposed his plans to take Britain out of the EU as scheduled on October 31st. Johnson hopes his conservatives can win the vote, approve his Brexit divorce agreement and get the country out of the 28-nation bloc by the next January 31 deadline.

Who are the party leaders in the UK general election?

Bercow says it would be "perfectly reasonable" for Parliament to bring Johnson's agreement back to the people in a referendum.

He said that there is a strong argument that "the process started with people in the form of a 2016 referendum and should end with people in the form of a referendum in 2020".

"I don't see how much more democracy can be undemocratic," he added.

The son of a London taxi driver who started his political career in the 80s as the right-wing acolyte of the then Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Bercow became a liberal hero in Britain and abroad .

He says his political ideas changed when he began to see conservatives as – in a sentence coined by former Prime Minister Theresa May – "the bad party". He thinks that the greatest success of recent British conservative governments has been the legalization of same-sex marriage.

In Parliament, he is proud to have helped create a crèche for the children of legislators and staff.

"Intense controversy"

Bercow angered some on the political right by saying in 2017 that Trump should not be allowed to turn to Parliament, an honor bestowed on some of his predecessors, including Barack Obama.

At the time, Bercow said that "there were intense disputes about the alleged sexism, racism and contempt of [Trump] of an independent judiciary, and it was my strong sense that he had not earned the 39; honor to be invited to address both Houses of Parliament ".

He said that Trump's behavior has since only strengthened his belief that he made the right choice.

"I thought recently when President Trump made extremely contemptuous remarks about some of his opposing women, which was hateful, repulsive and contemptible," Bercow said. "People in positions of power also have the responsibility to behave properly, to show respect and not to be in agreement."

Bercow's international celebrity has been fueled by its flamboyant verbal style in Parliament and the passion for distinctly obscure words like "chuntering" and "medicament".

"It's just me," said Bercow, who exchanged Speaker's black robes for a three-piece pinstriped suit for this interview. "It wasn't an act. It wasn't a show … It was me, reacting spontaneously."

A fervent career in public speaks of Bercow, along with a book that will be published next year. He also plans to spend more time on two of his passions: watching Roger Federer play tennis and take part in the Arsenal football matches.

He knows he has critics, but says he doesn't lose sleep over them.

"I'm kind of a Marmite character," he said, referring to the sparse British breakfast that has a reputation to love or hate. "But, you know, can I bear the burden of being considered a marmite character with stoicism and strength of mind? I think I can do it."


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.