What happens when you mix a tiny man with huge egos in a studio together with The Guilty Feminist comedian who detests the Tory Party
A heady combination of bile and pomposity, that’s what. Absolute Power is a podcast that John Bercow (the former Commons Speaker) attacks Tory senior politicians using the humorless 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.
His fevered, but unsuccessful attempts to subvert Brexit made him the first Speaker to not be granted a peerage for more than 200-years.
‘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’.
William Hague has a lot of bitterness. In 2015, he used his position as Leader at the Commons to make a coup against 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. Bercow is the first speaker in 200 years not to receive a peerage. This was due to his failed attempts at 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. The high-efficiency fryers use 50% less oil and can also recycle fat to make 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.
Stella Creasy, MP, isn’t the only mother who has given her child food during Commons proceedings. David Hinchliffe wrote in The Yorkshire Post about the unnamed member of Parliament who had done the same thing during his 2005 Commons Health Select 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. They practice 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.
Abbott returns to the trail of comeback?
Diane Abbott, Corbynite Labour Member, is planning a comeback.
After Yvette Cooper left to become a shadow cabinet member, I heard that she may be considering running for the chair of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee. 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.