David Cameron thinks he is born to rule, says John Bercow | Politics

David Cameron thinks he is born to rule, says John Bercow | Politics

The former Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has stoked his longstanding feud with David Cameron, saying the former Tory prime minister feels he is “born to rule” and has a “probably public-school-instilled” sense of his own superiority.

In an exclusive interview with the Observer that will be published on Sunday morning, Bercow also suggests Cameron called the 2016 Brexit referendum for selfish political reasons, rather than because there was a strong clamour for a public vote on leaving the EU from the British people.

Asked about his relationships with Eton-educated Cameron and Boris Johnson, Bercow, who attended a comprehensive school in north London, says that he gets on well with the current prime minister, but is less keen on Johnson’s predecessor but one.

Bercow says that Cameron “could be very impressive” on big occasions but adds: “David is relentlessly tactical rather than strategic. 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.

“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.”

Bercow, formerly the Conservative MP for Buckingham, stood down after 10 years as Speaker at the end of last month. He will be succeeded by Labour’s Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who won the election to replace him last week.

Asked how he was intending to vote at the 12 December general election, Bercow refused to say, suggesting he may not choose the Tories. “You can ask me, but I’m not going to tell you,” he says.

Bercow’s tenure as Speaker was frequently controversial: many Conservative MPs and ministers believed that he was biased against the Tory side and became increasingly and transparently supportive of MPs who backed remaining in the European Union.

On Brexit, Bercow says the decision to leave the EU is the biggest foreign policy mistake by a British government in the postwar period. He also criticises Brexiters for campaigning to leave the EU before they had devised a detailed plan about how a UK withdrawal could be achieved, and would work.

This lack of forethought by Brexiters meant the last three years of his time as Speaker were dominated by rows in parliament between Remainers and Leavers, leading in the end to total deadlock.

“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,” he says.

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