Simon Carr: My ill-tempered encounter with the Speaker

Eyewitness

Share
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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A press image from the company  

If men are so obsessed by their genitals, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities of sex?

Chloë Hamilton
Workers clean the area in front of the new Turkish Presidential Palace prior to an official reception for Republic day in Ankara  

Up Ankara, for a tour of great crapital cities

Dom Joly
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory