Thursday, 3 December 2009


Any hopes that replacing disgraced Speaker Michael Martin with John Bercow was going to add a little much needed dignity to the House of Commons were dashed today when Mrs Bercow launched her attempt to become a Labour councillor with a Press Conference where she decided to get rid of all the baggage.

It seems that Mrs Bercow was a bit of a party girl and a “ladette” in her time at Oxford, where her drinking got a bit out of hand. She reckons that she slept around a bit and enjoyed life to the full and that, although she got a grip on her drinking, she resumed her behaviour in the mid 90s when she was working in advertising.

She became teetotal in 2000 after realizing that she had put herself in danger. “I was an argumentative, stroppy drunk, picking arguments with my bosses over stupid things. Plus I’d lose my judgment and put myself in danger. I’d fall asleep on the Tube and end up in Epping or Heathrow. And I’d get into unlicensed minicabs in the early hours. All the things we’d tell our daughters not to do.”

According to an article in The Times, she decided to get it all out in the open before she starts her bid for a political career as a Labour Councillor in Pimlico. But residents of the London borough shouldn’t get too used to her. She says that she wants to be an MP at the next election. (I’m sure, however, that she must mean the one after the next.....)

Some MPs wonder if her living at the taxpayers’ expense in Speakers House in the Palace of Westminster, whilst being a councillor or an MP might compromise the Speaker’s independence.

Actually, she doesn’t sound that bright to me. I respect her right to a job doing what she believes in regardless of her husband’s job, and admire her openness. It would all have come out anyway, but she was right to be open and up front from day one.

It’s her judgement I have problems with... This is a corker of a quote from the article: Asked how it might work if she was an MP while her husband was Speaker, she said: “He’d be so tough on me though. I’d never get a question when he was in the chair. I’d have to wait till the deputy speaker was in.”

Well, that would hardly be fair to your constituents Mrs Bercow, would it?


  1. There is a question over the potential independent neutrality of Mr Speaker given his wifes' openly Labour political stance. Will she have an unfair influence over Mr Speaker? Will she unfairly [adversly] undermine the neutrality of the chair? This is a question which demands an answer, especially from Mr Speaker...

    I will however say that if she has ability, merit and talent she must also have a right to pursue her own career

  2. Oh yes Dean. I completely agree with you. Some people have said that it is inappropriate for her to pursue a career in politics given her husband's position. I am not one of them. It causes difficulties perhaps, but these difficulties were always there in any case.

    Some say that gone are the days of a little lady who's only interests and agenda were based on running the household, and with a natural assumption that her husband knew best. I doubt if they ever existed except in fiction!!

    They used to say "Behind every great man there is a great woman"; now I'm sure that they would have to say "Behind every great person there is a great person".

    We accept that Mr Brown discusses issues with and is influenced by his wife, as is Mr Salmond, Mr Cameron and all other leaders. I expect that Mrs Thatcher was influenced by her husband, a business tycoon, presumably with his own agenda.

    It is clear that Mrs B has a Labour party agenda, which might explain Mr Bercow's rather amazing move from the hard right to the hard left of his ex-party. In fact whether or not she is an MP or a councillor, her political views may well influence her husband.

    What I though interesting though was the fact that she thought it would be OK to be an MP and only get called when her husband wasn't in the chair!

  3. Tris,

    Her "husband's position" is mainly sedentary as his occupation suggests.

  4. He stands up a lot Brownlie, although, as he isn't incredibly tall, you may not have noticed.

    According to The Telegraph, it appears in his younger days he was fond of a variety of positions, or at least pro-positions:

    I have a feeling with all that's going on, he may be one of the shortest speakers in history... and that has nothing to do with his stature!

    I'm not sure who is behind all these revlations, but they are certainly seem to be doing their damnedest to make his look like a real twerp.