Sorry, says Reckless, the new MP too pissed to vote
The Mole: Will Bercow’s TV cameras catch drunks as well as louts?
Having got through the general election with his Buckingham seat and job as Speaker of the House of Commons intact, John Bercow now wants to "modernise" parliament. In particular, he wants to curb the "childish and inane" behaviour of "loutish" backbenchers at Prime Minister's Questions.
"I don't buy the argument that the public think this is marvellous sport," he said of the organised barracking and general hubbub in the chamber. "I think they think it's distasteful and would prefer a more seemly encounter."
To this end, he wants more cameras in the Commons in a bid to shame the worst offenders - the Mole will not name names - into improving their behaviour.
"If we could trust the BBC not to focus on trivia," said Bercow at the weekend, "let them have free rein, a greater number of camera angles and wider coverage, we might be able to expose these members and raise the stakes when it came to persistent offenders."
Well, the first place he'd better put a camera is on the House of Commons terrace.
It was here, overlooking the Thames, that one of the new intake of Tory MPs, Mark Reckless - by name, yes, and by nature - drank so much on the Tuesday night leading through to the emergency budget debate, that he felt unable to vote when the time came (at 2.30 in the morning).
Reckless admits he drank a skinful, and yesterday apologised on Kent Radio after having had his night of shame written up in the Mail on Sunday.
"I made a mistake. I'm really sorry about it," he said. "I'm terribly, terribly embarrassed. I apologise unreservedly and I don't plan to drink again at Westminster."
Not if John Bercow is watching on his CCTV monitors, he won't.
One veteran MP told the Mail: "In the old days, late-night sittings were common and MPs could take their drink.
"Tuesday was a balmy night and the new lot got carried away with themselves. It was a novelty for them."
Sadly, Reckless denied the best part of the Mail's story - that he had to be poured into a £150 taxi back to Rochester, saying as he sailed off into the night: "I won't be claiming it on my expenses". That didn't happen, he says. ·
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