John Bercow says Meghan Markle was victim of 'explicit and obnoxious racism'

John Bercow and Meghan Markle (AP/PA)
John Bercow and Meghan Markle (AP/PA)

Former Commons speaker John Bercow has said Meghan Markle was the victim of “explicit and obnoxious racism”.

Mr Bercow was speaking for the first time about the Duchess and Duke of Sussex’s decision to step back from senior royal duties and move to Canada.

He told the Sunday Times: “I want to say that I believe unequivocally that Meghan has been the victim of explicit and obnoxious racism.

“I am crystal clear about that. She has been subjected to racism, sexism and misogyny.

January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-375/STAR MAX/IPx 2017 11/27/17 His Royal Highness Prince Harry Of Wales and Ms. Meghan Markle are engaged to be married. The wedding will take place in Spring 2018. The couple became engaged in London earlier this month. Prince Harry informed The Queen and other close members of his family and also sought and received the blessing of Ms. Markle's parents. (London, England)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

“Harry and Meghan have a right to opt for change, accepting some of the consequences and costs. They are entitled to put their marriage and health first.”

Mr Bercow also said Meghan has been attacked because she is a “feminist” who has previously spoken out against Donald Trump.

The Sussexs’ dramatic announcement last month that they were stepping back from royal duties sparked debate about whether Meghan, who is mixed race, has been subjected to racism.

Prince Harry himself has previously criticised “racial undertones” of media coverage about Meghan, something Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he agreed with last month.

Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan, on the other hand, has claimed “this ‘it’s all racism’ defence of Meghan is so wrong and such a disgraceful smear on the British people who welcomed our first mixed-race royal with huge enthusiasm”. Mr Morgan has launched a series of tirades against Meghan, who he claimed suddenly cut off their friendship in 2015.

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Meanwhile, in the same interview, Mr Bercow was asked how he felt about Boris Johnson’s Conservatives getting a huge Commons majority in December’s general election.

The former Tory MP, who was accused of obstructing the Brexit process during his time in the speaker’s chair, said: “Sorry, because I knew it meant Brexit would definitely go ahead, and that’s a negative for the country.”

How four years of utter Brexit chaos unfolded