Sally Bercow defiant after bedsheet photoshoot
Racy interview and photo have Tories sharpening their knives for the Commons Speaker and his wife
Sally Bercow, wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has spent the morning fending off criticism of a pre-Valentine's Day interview for the London Evening Standard which was illustrated with a picture of her posing in only a bedsheet.
In the article, which promises to identify the 75 sexiest places in London, Bercow talks about the aphrodisiac qualities of the Houses of Parliament (number 75).
"Since John became Speaker the number of women who hit on him has gone up dramatically," says Sally. "I don't get jealous because more men have hit on me."
Apparently John Bercow's elevation in June 2009 has done wonders for the couple's sex life: "The view from Speaker's House is incredibly sexy, particularly at night with the moon and the glow from the old gas lamps."
Yesterday afternoon, sensing the furore to come, Bercow posted a Twitter update reading: "*dies of embarrassment* Oh bugger. I've been done up like a kipper. Mr B is going to go potty. #naiveSally."
Today on Radio 5 Live, Bercow told Victoria Derbyshire that she was a fool to agree to be photographed in a sheet. "I didn't really think through the implications," she said. "It was just meant to be a bit of fun, for God's sake."
What puzzles Westminster village onlookers is that 41-year-old Sally should take her clothes off for very same paper that first got her into trouble in December 2009, six months after her husband was controversially elected Speaker.
In that interview, she confessed to one-night stands and drinking too much in her younger days ("I would end up falling off the bar stool"). She was widely condemned, with Conservative MP Nadine Dorries saying she had "reduced the Speaker and his office to that of a laughing stock".
Today the Tories were sharpening their knives. While they can't stand the Labour-supporting Sally, many dislike her husband even more because he beat rival Tory Sir George Young to the post of Speaker in 2009 with the help of Labour votes. It is thought that very few Conservative MPs voted for him.
One "senior Tory" tells the Daily Mail: "It is so vulgar and tacky - we just cannot put up with them any more. We have got to get rid of them."
Sally Bercow does have some supporters, however. One of her 18,500 Twitter followers writes: "Sally Bercow is lovely. Why can't the Daily Mail piss off and find something important to feign outrage about?"
And, blogging for the New Statesman, Dan Hodges writes: "Good luck to her. It's great she's opted to be controversial rather than dutiful... It's refreshing, if a bit kinky, that she doesn't sit quietly in the corner, but swings from the chandelier whilst the bells of Big Ben are chiming." ·
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