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UK Politics

Minister apologises for branding Speaker John Bercow 'a stupid dwarf'

A Government minister apologised today after calling Commons Speaker John Bercow a "stupid, sanctimonious dwarf".

In a short statement, Health Minister Simon Burns said: "If I have caused any offence to any group of people then I unreservedly apologise because that was not my intention."

His insult had been branded "derogatory and deeply offensive" by the Walking with Giants Foundation, a charity that supports people who suffer from primordial dwarfism.

Mr Burns made the remarks, along with hand gestures, while seated on the front bench yesterday after Mr Bercow rebuked him for failing to face the despatch box when he answered backbenchers' questions.

Mr Bercow, who is believed to be 5ft 6in, poked fun at his own height today during a point of order in the Commons.

Labour former minister Chris Bryant (Rhondda) cheekily said: "I am glad you are getting short with ministers these days."

The Speaker replied: "You suggest that I have been short with ministers.

"I am not sure about that but what I would say to you and the House is I have always been short - and I am entirely untroubled by the fact, which is probably as well."