Bercow Exposes Cameron’s Hypocrisy 13

Tory hypocrisy – and that of David Cameron in particular – is exposed by their attitude to John Bercow as a possible speaker.

I have to admit to an being an admirer of Bercow because he has been the most consistent and active supporter of human rights for Uzbekistan in the House of Commons. Strangely the only other MP who comes to mind straight away as a doughty parliamentary supporter for the Uzbek people is also a Tory, Greg Hands.

But the Tories apparently hate Bercow, as witness this Spectator blog article today.

And why do they hate him? Because he is a backbench MP with a mind of his own, who does not slavishly follow the party whip.

The Mail on Sunday editorial attacking Bercow today describes him as “Increasingly New Labour.” But that is untrue. Where Bercow has been particularly inclined to rebel, is on issues where there has been an unholy alliance between the Tories and New Labour to bring in mad policies. Bercow has therefore voted against university top-up fees, foundation hospitals and various manifestations of the private finance initiative – all things where his party supported Blair – and has gone futher than his party in opposing New Labour “anti-terror” legislation.

In fact Bercow’s voting record looks more Tory veering to Lib Dem than to New Labour – with the major exception that he voted for the Iraq war.

That last is only one example of an area where I disagree with John Bercow. But when the man votes on any issue, it is not because someone told him to, it is because he has thought about it and used his brain to decide what is best.

That is exactly the sort of MP we need.

It is also why the Tories hate him. And their hatred of him exposes the full extent of Tory hypocrisy. They will jump on any reformist bandwagon going in a direction which may help them into power. But once in power, they will rule with just as much of an over-mighty executive, just as much throttling by party whip, just as much contempt for independent parliamentary thought, as New Labour have shown.

The Tories simply want their turn to be the elective dictators.

Andrew Marr questioned David Cameron rather well on precisely this point this morning. Cameron was trying to do his feely touchy reformist bit, and Marr moved to pin him down on whether a Tory government would allow more scope to parliament, by allowing backbenchers to make up their own minds how to vote. Cameron said there should be more free votes, but that politics was a team game and collective responsibility an important principle.

Marr then went on to question Cameron about his attitude to Bercow for speaker. While saying that a party leader should not support a particular candidate, Cameron managed to give the impression that he had just smelled something very bad, and added “But it must be a figure with the necessary respect and authority”, plainly meaning to cast doubt on Bercow’s possession of those qualities.

Remember, if you vote Conservative you do not get reform.

You get Tories.

Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

13 thoughts on “Bercow Exposes Cameron’s Hypocrisy

  • Anonymous

    “I have to admit to an being an admirer of Bercow because he has been the most consistent and active supporter of human rights for Uzbekistan in the House of Commons. Strangely the only other MP who comes to mind straight away as a doughty parliamentary supporter for the Uzbek people is also a Tory, Greg Hands.”

    A breakthrough perhaps? Strange you don’t get a mention.

    Many apologies:I posted this in the Barca thread earlier.

  • mary

    All I want to say with emphases on the Iraq war and replacing Trident.

    His voting record.

    How John Bercow voted on key issues since 2001:

    Voted a mixture of for and against a transparent Parliament.

    Voted a mixture of for and against introducing a smoking ban.

    Voted strongly against introducing ID cards.

    Voted strongly against introducing foundation hospitals.

    Voted strongly against introducing student top-up fees.

    Voted moderately against Labour’s anti-terrorism laws.

    Voted very strongly for the Iraq war.**

    Voted moderately for an investigation into the Iraq war.

    Voted very strongly for replacing Trident.**

    Voted strongly against the hunting ban.

    Voted moderately for equal gay rights.

    Voted strongly for laws to stop climate change.

    He is a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel lobby group and has been to Israel courtesy of the Israel Government.

    Beith, another candidate for the Speakership, is President of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel and his wife, Baroness Maddock is a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

  • Leo Davidson

    How we can have party whips and still call it a democracy is completely beyond me.

    The whip should be illegal, just as coercing citizens to vote in a particular way during an election is illegal.

  • David McKelvie

    I’m sorry to disagree, but this time round if you vote Conservative you don’t get Tories, you get NeoConservatives. Cameron and his cronies of the Notting Hill gang are unashamed fanatics of Senator Henry Jackson. We don’t need their poisonous ideas and the inevitable further subversion of the British Constitution – we’ve had enough damage with 12 years of Neo Labour.

  • Anonymous


    I think whips are ok if it’s a vote on a bill that was outlined in the party’s manifesto.

    Other than that whips should be illegal, or perhaps secret ballots for bills that were not in the manifesto they got elected on.

  • Iain Orr

    I have observed John Bercow in an area where generally Parliament has performed poorly in holding the government to account – The UK’s Overseas Territories (UKOTs). His track record has been impressive.

    On 23 April 2009 he was in the Chair for a debate on the report by the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs on the FCO and the UKOTs. The full text of the debate is at Read it. It shows MPs supporting a Select Committee Report which revealed incompetence and arrogance on the part of the FCO [my old department].

    Bercow’s engagement with the UKOTs has not been opportunistic. On 15 February 2006 he also chaired a debate on the lamentable decision of the Government ro renege on an earlier promise to move to a normal civil society for the residents of Ascension Island.

    More recently, he was one of the first Conservative MPs to show sympathy for the Chagossian Islanders (illegally exiled with no compensation to facilitate the creation of a UK/US military base on Diego Garcia) and to join the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Chagos Islands.

    Concern for human rights is not the monopoly of any one political party. Sadly, for at least a generation governments have been inclined to undermine human rights. Whoever becomes Speaker, a good track record on human rights should count for a great deal.

  • lwtc247

    He voted for the Iraq war?

    Then HE is exactly the kind of YAMM MP/Speaker we DON’T need.

    Is Iraqi life so cheap that the lives of 1,000,000+ men women and kids can be swept under the carpet like that? Could you stand in front of the millions of Iraqi people left childless, husbandless, grandparent less and tell them this man should not be jailed (or executed) for his acts?

    I am sick to my back teeth of these ‘imperial-lite’ bastards who believe they have the right to conduct military ops/killings when the UK has not been attacked.

    Bercow should be tried and jailed, appropriately, for life.

    He and the other scum broke international laws.

    See The Antagonists excellent page on international law pertaining to the kind of think they strangely don’t tell you about in your history classes:

    1928 by the International Treaty for the Renunciation of War [the Kellogg-Briand Pact].

    (YAMM = Yet another mass murderer)

  • Richard

    We need the Tories more than they need us. Brilliant. It may already be too late with inflation set to sky rocket, gilt markets striking, IMF inevitable, unemployment to motor. We need the Tories urgently.

    You should see what we’re doing in my local council – it’s brave, fair, efficient, protects front line services and costs less.

    I love it that people equate politics with philosophy and that’s fine when there’s cash available – but for the next 10 years – Blighty needs an old whore. Stop whinging – take your medicine, we’re bloody ill.

  • Alex

    According to a “senior Tory” the problem with Bercow is that “he discovered New Labour at the same time as he discovered sex”. Tories: still have a truly strange relationship with women..

  • Iain Orr

    An earlier comment criticises Bercow for voting for the Iraq War. I don’t think it is mature politics to make that or any other single issue (except manifest corruption or viciousness) the reason for supporting or opposing a politician or a political party.

    There are those – and I expect Bercow was one of them – who wanted the US to invade Iraq (with UK support) for reasons that had little to do with WMD. Not my position, but politics is not about everyone agreeing.

    However, truthfullness does have a part to play in politics. Those who most deserve criticism on Iraq are Blair and others who lied. Next are those MPs who wanted to be lied to so that they could be spared the risk of rebelling on the issue.

    There are then a small but significant number of MPs, mostly Labour but some Conservatives as well, who were genuinely misled by the dodgy dossier (Andrew Mackinlay is one example). There were enough in that category to mean that the motion authorising Blair to go to war was carried rather than defeated. It is for that corruption that Blair and his fellow-architects of New Labour deserve to be buried as the house of cards they created now collapses. Like Al Capone, they are being pursued for tax violations rather than murder because they have successfully intimidated key witnesses to the more serious crime.

  • Strategist

    I disagree, Iain. Iraq remains a pretty definitive acid test of any MP’s mettle. Any “if I knew then what I know now” stuff from an MP is hooey – every single person in parliament knew at the time that the dodgy dossier (the 45 minutes and all that) was bullshit.

    There were certainly many many MPs who “wanted to be lied to”, but I cannot believe there are any MPs at all who genuinely believed the ostensible pretext for war at the time. Obviously most of us thought WMD would probably be found, but no informed person in the whole country truly believed they were a clear and present danger.

    There were many who thought it would be clean & quick and wanted to be on the winning side, which would be a good thing for UK plc. I have no doubt whatsoever that Bercow falls into that category.

  • eddie

    “Remember, if you vote Conservative you do not get reform.”

    “You get Tories.”…

    Very perceptive. So who do now you recommend your readers should vote for? If it’s not Tory then Labour, the party you so despise, is the only REALISTIC option, because no other party can possibly form a government. So I mean “realistic” in the full and proper meaning of the word in the real world, not the fantasy world that so many of your respondents inhabit.

Comments are closed.