Former House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has said Brexit is “the biggest foreign policy mistake in the post-war period”.
Addressing a gathering of the Foreign Press Association in London yesterday, Mr Bercow said while he was impartial in chairing proceedings in the chamber, he could now express an opinion.
Mr Bercow, who last week stood down as Speaker after ten years in the chair, angered many pro-Brexit MPs for what they claimed were moves by him to thwart Brexit.
In a recording of the event, Mr Bercow said: “I’m no longer the Speaker, I don’t have to remain impartial now and if you asked me honestly, ‘Do I think that Brexit is good for our global standing?’ The honest answer is, ‘No, I don’t’.
“I think that Brexit is the biggest foreign policy mistake in the post-war period and that is my honest view.”
Earlier, he said: “The honest answer is that I don’t think it helps the UK. Let me say for the umpteenth time, for the avoidance of doubt, that I believe I was always fair in the chair.
“Fair to the Brexiteers, to whom I granted urgent questions and emergency debates before the word ‘Brexiteer’ had even been invented.”
Mr Bercow added: “If he [Boris Johnson] had the numbers, he could have got the first [Brexit] phase done … I respect his right to his view, which is a view very widely shared, but there is an alternative view equally that is very widely shared, and my own personal opinion is that Brexit does not help us.
“We are part of a world of power blocs and trade blocs, and my view is that it is better to be part of that power bloc and of that trade bloc than not.”