Bercow: Migrant workers show more aptitude

05 Jun 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The Commons Speaker John Bercow has stated that some migrant workers show more "aptitude and commitment" to the job in hand than British people.

Referring to the arrival of workers from Eastern Europe, Mr Bercow said that these people bring "great advantages" for Britain.

He explained that migrant needs to be "controlled and monitored", but there are "also great advantages." He added: "I want to underline the fact that there has been an important wave of immigrants that came to Great Britain from new member states and in many cases they came with aptitudes and a commitment, an involvement we haven't always seen in our labour force."

The comments come as the speaker is also thought to have criticised the British press for its anti-immigration tone. During a trip to Romania he is reported to have said: "A free media is a vital part of a democracy. But the media is not the government and it is not Parliament. I am here as a friend of Romania and someone who sees the benefits of immigration."

The comments have resulted in criticism from some parties, who have suggested that the comments were in opposition to the traditional impartiality expected from the speaker on controversial matters.

Nigel Farage, leader of the notoriously anti-immigration party UKIP, told the Telegraph: "There are very good practical and constitutional reasons why the speaker is neutral, reasons that he obviously believes are beneath his own august self-image."

A spokesman for Bercow, however, clarified that the comments had been in response to questions that followed his speech in Romania. The spokesman said: "It is not something that he would go to the Romanian parliament to give a lecture on. It is just one of a series of questions he was asked.

"He was in front of the Romanian parliament answering questions about all sorts of things and just wanted to be helpful to his hosts."