Sex and the Speaker: Bercow's wife puts her foot in it again

It was an eyebrow-raising episode even for someone who tends towards self-promotion. The wife of the Speaker of the Commons, talking about her husband's renewed sexual vigour – while posing draped only in a sheet.

In a post on Twitter, Sally Bercow appeared to rue the rather intimate interview she gave to a London magazine, describing it as an "epic fail".

"I've been done up like a kipper," she tweeted. "Mr B is going to go potty." And, in a dramatic aside, she declared she would "die of embarrassment".

Just how she thought a scantily clad photo shoot would turn out any other way is a mystery, although she claims it was part of a Valentine's joke.

The 41-year-old would-be MP posed winsomely, wrapped in a sheet, for a story in the London Evening Standard's ES Magazine, in which she discussed her private life. "Since John became Speaker, the number of women who hit on him has gone up dramatically," she told ES. "I don't get jealous, because more men have hit on me too."

Mrs Bercow lives with her 47-year-old husband, who was elevated to the role of Speaker in June 2009, in Speaker's House, across the river from the Houses of Parliament. "I never realised how sexy I would find living under Big Ben with the bells chiming," she said.

The photograph of Mrs Bercow clutching the bedclothes around her and standing in the window of their home, which overlooks Westminster, will further anger the MPs who have previously claimed her outbursts undermine her husband's credibility.

She has spoken to the press before about her alcoholism and history of one-night stands and, after she stood to be a Labour MP, there were suggestions she may even be compromising her husband's neutrality.

"My wife... is not my chattel," was Mr Bercow's response; he might be reaching for the scold's bridle after her latest outing however.

"I think it's hilarious that I have been referred to as the Carla Bruni of British politics," she gushes – although there is no evidence that she ever has been. The similarities seem to end at the diminutive stature of her husband and her capacity to embarrass him. Ms Bruni was slammed by Nicolas Sarkozy's detractors for drugs references and sexual content on the acoustic album she released in 2008.

Mrs Bercow isn't the first to have humiliated a political partner. Michelle Obama came under fire for revealing that her husband did not pick up his dirty socks or put the butter away after he uses it; she was advised not to divulge personal issues in the press. Mrs Bercow may wish to take note.

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