In Depth

Bercow causes outrage with tribute to 'kaleidoscope Queen'

Controversy as Speaker's Westminster introduction takes longer than Queen's speech

John Bercow and the Queen

DESPITE his diminutive frame, John Bercow, Speaker of the Commons, managed to overshadow the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations at Westminster Hall today with a rambling speech to MPs and Lords that lasted longer than the Queen's and left commentators fuming.

His overlong introduction contained crude rhetorical devices, a quote from Ghandi, a thinly veiled plug for a charity he supports and was thoroughly panned afterwards.

Bercow said the Queen had presided over "sixty years of stability. Sixty years of security. Sixty years of certainty. Sixty years of sacrifice. Sixty years of service".

He continued by saying that Britain was now "bigger, brighter and better" than it had been in 1952 when she took to the throne. But he capped it all when he dubbed Her Majesty the "kaleidoscope Queen of a kaleidoscope country in a kaleidoscope Commonwealth".

By coincidence, Bercow is president of a gay-rights group called Kaleidoscope Trust.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who is not a fan of Bercow, was pictured glaring at him during his address. The New Statesman described it as a "look of contempt".

Daily Mail political editor James Chapman commented on Twitter that Prince Philip also gave Bercow a funny look when he quoted Ghandi, and went "on and on with a misjudged and florid speech".

"Queen's Diamond Jubilee address rather shorter than Speaker Bercow's. She didn't want to upstage him on his big day," Chapman tweeted later.

But it was The Daily Telegraph that was most outraged. "Who the hell allowed that creep Bercow to hijack the event with his self-serving PC drivel about the 'kaleidoscope Queen' - and, worse, to insert a thinly disguised plug for gay marriage into a loyal address?" demanded Damian Thompson. "The man is a disgrace to our public life."

Also in the Telegraph, Tom Chivers said Bercow had performed "a full drunken-uncle routine" and had delivered "a wildly inappropriate political diatribe". He added that if it was a wedding he "could easily imagine the best man quietly taking the microphone off him and giving him a cup of black coffee".

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