Left Menu
Development News Edition

AP Interview: Ex-speaker Bercow brands Brexit a huge mistake


AP Interview: Ex-speaker Bercow brands Brexit a huge mistake

London, Nov 7 (AP) John Bercow, the former House of Commons speaker who oversaw Britain's bruising parliamentary battles over Brexit, says leaving the European Union would be a historic mistake for the UK, but it's not too late to reverse the decision. Bercow retired last week after a decade running the daily business and debates of Parliament's lower chamber. In that job he had to be neutral. But he now says that Brexit is the country's "biggest foreign policy blunder" since World War II, an error that will leave Britain weakened economically and diplomatically.

"We're in a world of power blocs and of trade blocs," Bercow told the Associated Press in an interview Thursday. "And it makes more sense for the UK to be part of that power bloc called the European Union and part of that trade bloc called the European Union." He said "if you add to that the civilizing effect of some of the social legislation that has been ushered in by the European Union, that seems to be to amount to a virtuous combination of benefits for the UK."

"I don't say that (Brexit) will spawn mass poverty, or that we won't be able to get by, find a way to trade and offer some voice in the world," he said. "But I think that we will suffer in trade terms and suffer in terms of global standing and influence." Some British politicians - even among those who voted in 2016 to remain in the EU - now say the country must honour the result of the referendum. But Bercow says "the best course for the UK is to remain" in the EU.

He says Britain's 2016 referendum to leave the bloc "isn't the final word on the subject" and would be democratic to hold a new public vote on EU membership. "In 2016, people voted by a narrow margin for departure, but they didn't vote for a destination," said Bercow, who is also stepping down as a member of Parliament after 22 years.

"There wasn't a consensus and there isn't a consensus now, and there's great disagreement as to what sort of Brexit there should be. So it seems to me that if there is a withdrawal agreement, it's perfectly reasonable, if Parliament wants to do so, for Parliament to say 'no.' Or alternatively to say 'yes,' but it should be subject to a final decision by the electorate in the form of a referendum," he said. Britain is currently in the midst of an election campaign, with all 650 seats in the House of Commons up for grabs in the December 12 vote.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hard pushed for the early vote after Parliament thwarted his plans to have Britain leave the EU on October 31. Johnson hopes his Conservatives can win the vote, pass his Brexit divorce plan and get the country out of the 28-nation bloc by the next Brexit deadline on January 31. As speaker, Bercow was accused by some of favouring opponents of Brexit in his decisions. His newfound outspokenness is likely to bolster that view.

Bercow denies bias, and says the criticism doesn't bother him. "There will always be people who criticize, and that's as predictable as the passage of the seasons," he said. "But that is a matter which occasions me no loss of sleep whatsoever." (AP) ZH

ZH

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

JNU Administration's 100-meter challenge before JNUSU

For the first time in its history, Jawaharlal Nehru University JNU Administration is seeking permanent deployment of local police to keep protesting students at 100 meters away from the Administrative Block. It would be interesting to see h...

Sentiment Analysis of Twitter users during COP25: Governments losing trust on Climate Action

Sentiment analysis of Twitter users during COP25 in Madrid, being held from December 2-13, shows widespread fear on climate change due to global warming but almost no trust on governments in meeting the emission targets. In the analysis the...

These innovators are making humanitarian response more efficient

These alarming trends prompt a call for the world to not only address the ongoing crisis but also to adopt innovative approaches to fulfill the growing humanitarian needs in such emergencies. ...

Hyderabad Encounter: A sentiment analysis of public mood on day of encounter

Sentiment analysis of twitter users revealed that they showered salutes on Hyderabad police for eliminating alleged gang rapists of the veterinary doctor but only a few believe in cops version of successive events leading to encounter....

Videos

Latest News

Report: LB Suggs wants only Ravens to claim him

After being released by the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, linebacker Terrell Suggs will strongly consider not reporting if any team other than his former club, the Baltimore Ravens, claims him off waivers, ESPN reported Saturday. Suggs can b...

WRAPUP 5-U.S.-China trade deal cuts tariffs for Beijing promise of big farm purchases

The United States and China cooled their trade war on Friday, announcing a Phase one agreement that reduces some U.S. tariffs in exchange for what U.S. officials said would be a big jump in Chinese purchases of American farm products and ot...

PSG in 'good shape' and 'ready' for Saint Etienne clash

Ahead of the clash against Saint Etienne, Paris Saint Germain manager Thomas Tuchel said they are in good shape and ready to play. Theyre a very competitive team that plays with a very big atmosphere behind them a bit like in Montpellier. T...

DCW chief Swati Maliwal rushed to hospital after she falls unconscious

Delhi Commission for Women DCW chief, Swati Maliwal, who has been on a hunger strike for over 10 days now protesting against rape incidents and demanding death penalty for convicts in rape cases within 6 months, was rushed to LNJP hospital ...

Give Feedback