ANDREW PIERCE: John Bercow is still spouting his pompous bile

ANDREW PIERCE: John Bercow is still spouting his pompous bile

What do you get when you put a little man with a giant ego in a studio with a comedian known as The Guilty Feminist who hates the Tory Party?

A heady combination of bile and pomposity, that’s what. I refer to a new podcast called Absolute Power in which John Bercow, the former Commons Speaker, attacks senior Tory politicians with the help of humourless humorist Deborah Francis-White.

First on the Bercow hit list was Michael Gove, the Housing and Communities Secretary, who is also in charge of the Government’s levelling-up agenda.

‘When he was Chief Whip, on one occasion Michael Gove got lost in the loo which is the thing a whip would excoriate someone else for,’ says Bercow, who was himself once nicknamed ‘Golden Bladder’ after overseeing an 11-hour debate on Syria without once nipping to the toilet. 

He is the first Speaker in more than 200 years to be denied a peerage, not least because of his fevered but futile attempts to sabotage Brexit

‘I am an admirer of the many talents of Michael Gove but I regarded him as an utterly ineffably hopeless Chief Whip,’ he adds.

Meanwhile, all that mattered to Boris Johnson, according to Bercow, was the ‘acquisition and retention of power ever since he appeared on the face of the Earth’.

Much bitterness is reserved for William Hague, who used his powers as Leader of the Commons on his last day as an MP in 2015 to try (and fail) to engineer a coup against the insufferable Bercow.

‘It was, frankly, a pitiful way for him to conclude his parliamentary career,’ says his would-be victim. 

‘He was standing down at the general election and subsequently went to the House of Lords.’

How that must stick in Bercow’s craw. He is the first Speaker in more than 200 years to be denied a peerage, not least because of his fevered but futile attempts to sabotage Brexit.

Now it’s Two Bags (of chips) 

It is good to learn that the old bruiser John ‘Two Jags’ Prescott is back in business after suffering a stroke in 2019.

Prezza has been extolling the virtues of low-carbon fish and chips served in Papa’s restaurant in his former Hull constituency. It has not only introduced high-efficiency frying ranges which use 50 per cent less gas, it recycles fat into biodiesel. What’s more, Papa’s potatoes are sourced within half a mile of the restaurant.

The former Deputy PM, a lead EU negotiator at the 1997 Kyoto climate conference which produced the first global agreement on cutting carbon emissions, says: ‘As someone known to love the odd cod and chips, I am delighted Papa’s are helping me to reduce my own carbon footprint.’

Welcome back, Prezza.

MP Stella Creasy is not the first mother to feed her baby during proceedings in the Commons. David Hinchliffe, who was chairman of the Commons Health Select Committee in 2005, wrote in the Yorkshire Post about an unnamed MP who did the same during one of his committee hearings. 

‘I had no problem with her feeding her baby during meetings, but I was very strongly warned that this was against Commons rules,’ he recalls. ‘This was in clear breach of the regulation that no refreshments are allowed during committee meetings!’

The self-righteous Green Party backed a campaign by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union for a £15-an-hour minimum wage at their conference. This is the party that recently advertised for five field organisers with hourly rates starting at £11.40. So much for practising what they preach. 

Labour’s new Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy needs to improve his knowledge of our nearest neighbours. He once said Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI’s queen who came to a grisly end on the guillotine, won a Nobel prize for her work on radiation.

Er, that’s Marie Curie, David.

Is Diane Abbott, the Corbynite Labour MP, planning a comeback?

I hear she is considering running for the chairmanship of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee after Yvette Cooper quit to join the shadow cabinet. The additional £16,422 a year would come in handy, as she has just published the accounts of her Diane Abbott Foundation, designed to help black children in education. Over the past five years she has used her own money to underwrite it to the tune of £14,115 due to the lack of donations.

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