John Bercow says David Cameron thinks he was 'born to rule' in fresh swipe at ex-PM

Posted On: 
10th November 2019

John Bercow has unleashed a bitter attack on David Cameron, accusing the former prime minister of being "born to rule".

John Bercow frequently clashed with the Conservatives during his time in the Speaker's chair.
Credit: 
PA

The ex-Speaker, who only stepped down at the end of last month, accused the former Tory leader of having a "probably public-school-instilled" sense of superiority.

The comments came as Mr Bercow was asked about his relationships with prime ministers during his decade in the Speaker's chair.

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While he told The Observer he got on well with the current occupant of Number 10, Boris Johnson, the former Speaker tore into Mr Cameron over the decision to call the 2016 referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.

"David is relentlessly tactical rather than strategic," Mr Bercow said.

"Let’s face it, he chose to call the referendum. Was there a clamour for it? There was not. There was chuntering in his own party, but the public wasn’t demanding one. He just thought it would work for him."

Mr Bercow added: "He has the most enormous, probably public-school-instilled, self-confidence. He thinks people like him are born to rule, that the natural order is that people like him run things, and that he is in a superior position."

The former Speaker's intervention comes after years of spats with the Conservatives, with frequent rows erupting over procedural rulings that were seen to favour backbenchers opposed to Brexit.

Mr Bercow, who has also stepped down as Conservative MP for Buckingham, raised eyebrows this week when he branded Brexit "the biggest foreign policy mistake in the post-war period".

But he told the Foreign Press Association that he had "always treated the Brexiteers in a fair way" and "always treated the Remainers in a fair way".

He added: "I will assert to anybody that will listen until my dying day that I have been impartial in the chair - pro-Parliament and impartial in the chair."

However, in a fresh dig at Brexiteers, Mr Bercow told the Observer: "I had assumed that the architects of, and proselytisers for, Brexit, would have a clear idea of what they wanted. I was surprised there wasn’t greater clarity."