Simon Carr: My ill-tempered encounter with the Speaker


Related Topics

That encounter with the Speaker in full. John Bercow, Speaker, Britain's First Commoner (that's an honorific for the class conscious of you out there), was greeting and welcoming his new intake in Portcullis House. He is master of this domain.

Then – he's walking down the colonnade with his wife and sees two of his tormentors, Carr and Quentin Letts from the Daily Mail. He adopts a manner so exaggerated it's an antic disposition.

"THERE you are! Magnificent men! Mahhhvellous to seeee you! How ARE you! What are you DOING now!" There is more of this such that I put my hand on his shoulder, with not entirely false concern, "Are you all right John?"

"Are you drunk?" Letts asks more brutally. It's before midday.

"More your problem than mine," the Speaker replies. "What are you WRITING ABOUT today," he says with enormous articulation. "About this, I think," I said.

He turned to Letts: "Tell me, what paper are you writing for? Are you still writing for the Mail?" There is a bit more to and fro while he gives us to understand he never reads such low material.

And then back to me: "I don't want to sow dissension between you two IMPORTANT gentlemen but it was here – on this spot, this very spot" (some emphatic pointing at the ground) "that you confessed to being a BULLEE but denied being a SNOB! And you said, 'That's more Quentin's line'."

This sank in a moment and Letts said: "I'm a terrific snob. My role model is Hyacinth Bucket. Love the values of self-improvement."

Then Bercow turned back to me saying: "But you went to some sort of a minor public school, didn't you? I find minor public school boys very often don't come to much in life. They don't do well. They think themselves on the fringes of the 'county set' and they very rarely do much in life."

And then (sensitive eyes turn aside now): "I myself am the Jewboy son of a taxi driver." He repeated the line, for good measure.

David Cameron paused in passing to congratulate him, and Bercow reverted to his elaborate manner: "And how are you enjoying your new majority?"

"I am luxuriating in it," the Tory leader said, with a smile so amiable and amused it seemed to twist the Speaker's insides.

Keeping the commentary to a minimum: Speakers normally behave with more... confidence than this.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Development Manager (District Heating)

£55000 Per Annum plus company car and bonus scheme: The Green Recruitment Comp...

Lead Hand - QC

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Lead Hand - QCProgressive are recruiting...

Chemical Engineer/Project Coordinator

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Chemical Eng...

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Day In a Page

Read Next

The daily catch-up: knitting, why Ed wants to be PM and a colloquium of Indy-pedants

John Rentoul
Former N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos gives a statement outside Southwark Crown Court after her trial  

It would be wrong to compare brave Tulisa’s ordeal with phone hacking. It’s much worse than that

Matthew Norman
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn