It’s been a tough few days for Keir Starmer. Unloved by his party’s activists and outmaneuvered by his union barons, his conference season has had more rows than Hollyoaks. Still, the under-fire leader will no doubt be delighted to discover one Labour member is still happy to uncritically sing his praises – new recruit John Bercow, the former Commons speaker.
Last night Bercow took to the stage at an SME4Labour Q&A to an ecstatic welcome by the fawning FBPE crowd. The onetime Monday Club member made sure to brush up on his verbal cues for the night, peppering his half-an-hour appearance with frequent references to his new found ‘comrades’ and declaring ‘I’m very proud belatedly to be a member of the Labour party’.
He oozed praise for Keir Starmer too, lauding him as a ‘a good guy’ a ‘formidable prosecutor, a formidable advocate’ for his ‘great brain’ and for his ‘remorseless persistent, clinical approach’ compared to ‘this shower which frankly represents the worst government of my lifetime.’ Couldn’t have happened without you John…
The former Tory frontbencher also rode to the defence of Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner, who described senior Tories on Sunday as ‘scum’. Bercow said he would have not chosen that term but insisted people should not get on their ‘moral high horses’ about it. Sighing slightly, he expressed his sadness about not being invited to the Lords but claimed ‘I tried to do the job the right way’ adding ‘I can look myself in the mirror’ to applause from the crowd.
One star-struck CLP chair even offered Bercow the chance to stand for his Wycombe constituency at the next election – an offer the onetime Commons speaker wisely rejected, given its history as a Tory stronghold since 1951. However Bercow did claim he will ‘absolutely’ join a trade union in the near future – a strange irony given the allegations he faced of bullying in Parliament.
Still as the former Buckingham MP said: ‘I think the worst thing in politics or in life is to get bitter. You should never get bitter. Bitterness corrodes you.’ Good thing Bercow could never be accused of that.
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