John Bercow has completed his treacherous journey by ditching the Conservatives altogether and joining Labour - the party that tried (and failed) to get him a peerage. The story was broken by none other than left-wing anti-Brexit rag The Observer. How apt.
Bercow dished the dirt on Boris Johnson and his party in an exclusive interview, labelling the current Tory party as "reactionary, populist, nationalistic and sometimes even xenophobic". The former Commons speaker says he joined Labour a few weeks ago having decided that he now shared its values. However, this is far from a coup for Keir Starmer. Bercow's blatant Remain bias during the Brexit stalemate of 2019 has not been forgotten, particularly in the working class communities that backed Leave. Starmer had tried to distance himself from the Brexit issue since he took over as leader, but the arrival of arch remoaner Bercow will do him no favours. The Batley and Spen by-election is less that two weeks away and the northern constituency backed Leave 60-40.
In further embarrassment for Starmer, Bercow provides The Observer with a somewhat sneering assessment of his new party leader. 'He's no Clinton or Obama' says Bercow when asked if Starmer could oust the Tories: "The jury is out. I am, however, hopeful because I observed Keir Starmer at close quarters from the speaker’s chair. He may not be Bill Clinton or Barack Obama but he is decent, honourable and intelligent and he came into politics as public service".
Bercow's wife has been a Labour member for many years, so it came as no great surprise to see Bercow speaking as if he were a lifelong socialist: "I am motivated by support for equality, social justice and internationalism. That is the Labour brand. 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".
It's an odd journey for a grown man. A lot of adults grow out of lefty adolescence and embrace conservatism when they have some life experience. Bercow's got it the wrong way around. Perhaps Mrs Bercow's influence has worn down this pathetic little man over the years. He's certainly worlds away from the staunch Eurosceptic that entered Parliament in 1997...