‘You are never traitors’ — John Bercow defends rebel MPs in scathing attack on newspaper headlines

John Bercow in the House of Commons.

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John Bercow in the House of Commons.
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Twitter/@BBCParliament

  • The Speaker of the House of Commons supported MPs who have opposed government Brexit legislation.
  • Bercow cited hostile coverage by the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph which targeted “mutineers.”
  • He said the newspapers “cannot understand basic concept of principled conduct.”
  • “You as MPs are never mutineers, you are never traitors,” Bercow said.

LONDON – House of Commons speaker John Bercow has launched a scathing attack on two of Britain’s biggest national newspapers following their coverage of Tory rebellions over Brexit legislation.

Last week 11 Conservative MPs voted for an amendment calling on the government to give Parliament a meaningful vote on any final Brexit deal reached between Britain and the European Union.

The government was defeated in a humiliating moment for Prime Minister Theresa May.

The following day the Daily Mail’s front page pictured the rebels and branded them “self-confessed malcontents.”

This followed a Daily Telegraph front page published last month which described rebels as “mutineers” following reports that Conservative MPs were planning to oppose May’s plan to enshrine the exit date in law.

Speaking after a parliamentary debate on public harassment on Monday evening, Bercow said:

“You as MPs are never mutineers, you are never traitors, you are never malcontents, you are never enemies of the people.

“You are dedicated, hard-working, committed public-servants, doing what you believe to be right for this country.

“If there are people who cannot understand that basic concept of principled conduct, perhaps they need help to ensure that in future they do.”

Watch Bercow defend MPs who voted for the amendment:

MPs who backed last week’s vote have received violent messages and death threats.

Dominic Grieve, the MP who tabled the amendment, plus backers Anna Soubry and Ken Clarke have all claimed to have received death threats since last week’s vote.

Soubry has submitted a dossier of violent threats against to her to Bercow. The document, seen by The Guardian, includes numerous calls for her to be hanged for treason.

An MP is who yet to be named has been forced to use a panic alarm in their constituency office.

Bercow described threats as a “kind of fascism.”