John Bercow opens up on his Brexit meddling as he tells Labour how to beat Boris Johnson

Bercow seeking role as ‘elder statesman’ says expert

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The former Conservative MP and Speaker of the House of Commons was making his debut at the Labour Party Conference after switching allegiances earlier this year. Speaking to a fringe event in Brighton, the politician accused the Prime Minister of habitual lying as he tore into his ex-colleagues.

He said unlike Sir Keir, the Prime Minister was not “someone who has come into politics to advance the interests other than, and frequently less fortunate than, himself”.

The ex-Speaker was loathed by Brexiteer MPs during his final years in the job, accused of helping Remainers looking to sabotage the UK’s exit from the bloc.

He faced accusations of breaking precedent in place for centuries in order to help thwart the Government’s efforts to break free.

Defending his actions, he admitted: “People have different views about how I handled Brexit.”

“I hope you’ll accept I was honest, I was trying to do the right thing for Parliament and the country,” he said.

“What I will not accept, because it’s not true, is that I was behaving in a manipulative or dishonest way.”

Addressing a crowded room of hundreds of Labour supporters, Mr Bercow also gave his insight on how the party could win the next election.

Referring to those in the room as his “comrades”, he outlined two factors which could lead to the downfall of Mr Johnson’s administration.

He said: “The Conservative Party always used to be said to be ‘cruel but efficient’.

“Now, if they do not lose their reputation for being cruel, and there is no imminent likelihood of that loss, they have acquired a reputation for being inefficient, incompetent and incompetent on an industrial scale.

“The task of the political craftsmanship of the Labour Party is to expose those errors clinically, repeatedly, persistently.”

He added Margaret Thatcher’s large parliamentary majorities had led her to become arrogance and dismissiveness and carelessness” and Mr Johnson was at risk of the same flaw.

Turning his attention to what Labour needed to do to capitalise on the weaknesses of Mr Johnson’s Government, he said: “The Labour Party has got to excite people.

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“It has got to excite people.

“It is not good enough to just have a good set of good policies.

“In fact, I would go as far as to say, that my feeling is that the Labour Party in the next election doesn’t need to have a vastly, detailed, lengthy manifesto with dozens and dozens of commitments.”

Urging the party to put bitter in-fighting behind them to rally around the common cause of defeating Mr Johnson, he said: “The Labour Party has got to thrust to the fore alongside Keir who is a formidable prosecutor, a formidable advocate, and other personalities part of the leadership team, which can reach out to people and persuade people that they are different from and preferable to this shower, which frankly represents the worst government of my lifetime.”

He described Sir Keir as a “good guy” but and urged him to develop a “narrative” and “clear policies”.

Despite pleads from some at the conference, Mr Bercow said he had no interest in a career in the Labour Party and did not intend to stand for Parliament again.

However, he said he “absolutely” wanted to join a trade union in the near future.

He admitted he was disappointed not to have been offered a seat in the House of Lords.

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