Simon Carr: Bercow undermined by the embarrassments of Mrs Speaker

Sketch: I'd say a challenge is now a certainty and a new Speaker the highest probability

Share
Related Topics

A question to the Work and Pensions minister produced some insider chuckling. A Tory backbencher had asked: "Does she recall the parable of the 10 wise virgins and the 10 foolish virgins?" Oh yes, very good. It drew a good humoured smile from the Speaker, slightly rueful, perhaps.

The revelations from Mrs Speaker over the last few days have created a minefield of double entendres round the Speakers' office, and you could see John Bercow wondering if a foolish virgin was better than a wise virgin but that neither was really apropos just now.

Now Mrs Speaker is a dignified part of the constitution, she will find herself embarrassed. In her younger days, she told the press, she'd get so sloshed she'd fall asleep on the tube and find herself in Upminster. That's a long way to be unconscious. She'd also pick up strangers in bars and have sex with them. Black-out drinking and indiscriminate sex? I'm an exhausted liberal and have to husband my indignation. Truth to tell I can't get worked up about it.

But acts have consequences, as life goes on. Mrs Speaker meets a lot of people. She meets journalists. She may meet me, say at a reception. I will know for certain that I've never had sex with her. But she won't be able to say the same about me.

Now, that's not an insuperable problem for the wife of Britain's first commoner. Goodness knows there are dignified parts of the constitution who make Mrs Speaker look like Mother Teresa. The Duchess of This and the Countess of That. But the difference is that their various Highnesses, Graces and Ladyships haven't given a double page interview to tell the world their shagging habits.

So, if there's trouble for the Speaker, it's not what his wife did then, it's what she's doing now. Slagging off her husband's party, attacking the leader of the opposition, and to keep her political ambitions alive she has to give an insane interview to reveal things any normal person would draw a veil – or burka – or great racing sail – over.

The Speaker is supposed to be above politics, so it does matter a bit. Things haven't developed entirely to his advantage over the last three months. He isn't thought to preside impartially in the House. His deputy speaker plan (to make parties vote only for the candidate from their own party) has been rejected by the Procedure Committee. And the loathing he inspires among the Tories may well see his majority cut in Buckingham and a defeat in the House if he is returned. Mrs Speaker has released the indignation of those who have more than they need for purely personal purposes.

I'd say a challenge is now a certainty and a new Speaker the highest probability.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Geography Teacher

£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

Do you want to work in Education?

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

What I saw on the night my husband was hit by a car

Rebecca Armstrong
UK border control at Heathrow Airport  

Luckily for Barbara Roche, formerly of the Home Office, Easter reminds us that heaven loves the repenting sinner best

Matthew Norman
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit