The costly libel judgment against the Speaker’s wife Sally Bercow has been widely seen as a timely warning for other would-be controversialists on social media.
After her now-infamous Twitter post about Lord McAlpine was ruled defamatory in the High Court on Friday, Bercow’s reliably indiscreet daily missives are notably absent from cyberspace. To newspaper diarists everywhere “Saucy Sally” was the gift that kept on giving, representing a guaranteed paragraph or two on a quiet-ish afternoon, and a more-than-worthy successor to such “characters” as Lembit Opik and the Hamiltons. “Once again, Commons Speaker John Bercow will be sitting uncomfortably…” readers would be gleefully informed.
While Sally is seemingly lost to the Twittersphere for the time being, others in the Westminster village are keen to fill the void. Aided by his helpfully comic blond barnet, the Tory MP Michael Fabricant does his level best to keep us amused, regularly turning each day’s political events into his own version of a Carry On film, while we can be certain his publicity hungry colleague, the “Scouse firecracker” Nadine Dorries, isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
She may be poorer, but Sally’s Twitter legacy is safe. See you in court.