John Bercow: ‘I am not a sex symbol’

The British politician has an issue he’d like to clear up

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The Independent Online

A note of clarification from John Bercow – he is not a sex symbol.

The Speaker of the House of Commons modestly laughed off the many, many unknown women who apparently believe him to be an object of lust.

In truth, it’s only his wife who ever made dubious claims over the politician’s alleged irresistible allure. Sally Bercow famously said in 2011 that his role as a Commons speaker has made him more attractive.

“I have most certainly not become a sex symbol,” he said. “She does have a very good sense of humour.”

Mrs Bercow posed in just a bedsheet for an Evening Standard photoshoot in 2011, where she discussed the sexiness of “power”.

“Politicians as a breed aren't particularly sexy, but I think politics can be sexy because power is an aphrodisiac,” she said.

“Since John became Speaker, the number of women who hit on him has gone up dramatically. I don't get jealous because more men have hit on me, too. I think it's hilarious and extremely flattering that I've been referred to as the Carla Bruni of British politics.”

However, the politician remains unphased by the scrutiny his marriage has faced. In February, she denied allegations of an affair after she was pictured allegedly kissing another man on a night out in London.

“Sally and I have our own approach to marriage and we are perfectly comfortable in our own skin,” he said in The Times Magazine.

“And, in the politest possible way, I think I would say: if other people disapprove of it or think it should be otherwise, that’s their problem, not ours.”

Bercow went on to say that to discriminate against someone because of their height should be as socially unacceptable as discriminating against someone because of their race or sexuality. He is 5ft 6in tall.

“I can honestly say that I was never bothered about being short,” he said. “Whereas nobody these days would regard it as acceptable to criticise someone on grounds of race or creed or disability or sexual orientation, somehow it seems to be acceptable to comment on someone’s height, or lack of it. Does it affect me, personally? Not at all. It’s just low-grade, intellectually substandard and schoolboyish.”