Dyke is a 'vulgar, uncouth oaf', says frontbench Tory

John Bercow, the fast-rising member of William Hague's frontbench team, opened a new frontal attack on the BBC, and its director general, accusing it of ingrained bias against the Conservative Party.

John Bercow, the fast-rising member of William Hague's frontbench team, opened a new frontal attack on the BBC, and its director general, accusing it of ingrained bias against the Conservative Party.

Mr Bercow told The Independent: "Greg Dyke is terribly vulgar: he's an uncouth oaf and very rude. He doesn't listen to Conservatives. The BBC is congenitally left-liberal. It can't help itself."

Relations between the BBC and the Conservative Party are at a low following accusations of bias in news programmes and political interviews. Referring to Norman Tebbit's attacks on the BBC in the Eighties, Mr Bercow said: "Very little has changed. We should be clear about that. Tebbit's attacks were justified then and ours are today."

But the scourge of Cherie Blair has admitted that he was wrong to attack the Prime Minister's wife as "a cross between First Lady and Lady Macbeth" and to suggest that she had designs on the Queen's role in public life.

He admitted that his attack on Mrs Blair for her public endorsement of the Government's Human Rights Act this summer had backfired. "I don't think it struck a chord with the public," he said. "It backfired because the people who agreed with me were anti the Blairs to start with and it didn't convince many others - I agree it might even have alienated them."

Mr Bercow also revealed that Central Office had been "keeping a dossier" of Mrs Blair's public pronouncements for some time with the intention of launching a critical attack on her alleged influence over the Prime Minister - and that he was chosen for the role by Central Office.

He hinted that the Conservative leader's wife, Ffion Hague, was angered by the attack on Mrs Blair. "She may have cavilled, I suspect." Of Mrs Blair, Mr Bercow now says: "I have nothing against her personally. She gives every impression if being a lot brighter than the Prime Minister.

"I still think that there are issues about the way she speaks and writes and whether these are suitable for a serving Prime Minister's wife. But we should perhaps have gone about it differently. The attack didn't hit home. People thought that we were anti-working women as a whole which is an entirely wrong impression."

The outspoken Mr Bercow, 37, is fast becoming the Conservatives' most boisterous attack dog. Describing himself as "Son of Thatcher," he has strong support among grass-roots Tories, but causes nervous outbreaks in Central Office and the whips' office, where he is deemed a loose canon. Mr Bercow made it clear, however, that his attack on Mrs Blair had been endorsed by the Tory leader, although the strength of the invective is said to have caught the leadership off guard.

In the feisty and ambitious Mr Bercow, New Labour has a trainee hate figure to rival Michael Portillo and John Redwood. Accused by Robin Cook of being unfit for the Tory frontbench because of his past membership of the far-right, anti-immigration Monday Club, Mr Bercow, a home affairs spokesman, replied: "He is the most arrogant, pompous and unsuitable Foreign Secretary in living memory... These are views I held when I was a teenager and I don't hold now."

Asked why he thought the Conservatives were still unpopular with young people, he said: "The thing that I've learned since the last election is that you mustn't come across as foaming at the mouth. Perhaps we gave people to many reasons not to like us."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Sauce Recruitment: Programme Sales Executive - Independent Distributor

£25000 - £28000 per annum + circa 28K + 20% bonus opportunity: Sauce Recruitme...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Are you an ambitious, money mot...

Guru Careers: Investment Writer / Stock Picker

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A freelance Investment Writer / Stock Picker ...

Guru Careers: PPC Account Executive / Paid Search Executive

£20 - 24K + Benefits: Guru Careers: An enthusiastic PPC Account / Paid Search ...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project