Saturday 10 December 2016

Socialist Worker newspaper made me a Tory, jokes Speaker John Bercow

Published 09/02/2016 | 16:41

John Bercow said he read the journal 'very occasionally' when he was a school student, but the publication had not passed his desk since
John Bercow said he read the journal 'very occasionally' when he was a school student, but the publication had not passed his desk since

The Commons Speaker has joked that reading the Socialist Worker newspaper as a student "probably" made him a Tory.

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John Bercow revealed to MPs in the chamber that he read the journal "very occasionally" when he was a school student, but the publication had not passed his desk since.

His comments came after Labour's David Winnick (Walsall North) raised a point of order inquiring in jest if browsing the journal made him decide to become a Conservative.

Mr Winnick asked: "Correctly you said that in your youth you read the Socialist Worker. Would it be right to come to the conclusion that having read that revolutionary journal, it decided you to become a Tory?"

Mr Bercow replied: "The honourable gentleman may be correct in that surmise, there was actually a young lad at my secondary school who was a devoted seller of the paper and another young lad who was a devoted seller of the paper who has since become a distinguished academic and as far as I know he no longer adheres to the precepts of the Socialist Workers Party.

"Did reading it make me a Tory?- Probably."

He added: "I'm very grateful to the honourable gentleman both for his point of order and for his sense of humour."

Mr Bercow's trip down memory lane came after SNP MP Christopher Stephens (Glasgow South West) raised an initial point of order about facility time and check off provisions contained in the Trade Union Bill and whether there would be a removal of those provisions as they applied to Scotland and Wales after he earlier asked a question at Commons BIS questions.

Mr Stephens said: "The Socialist Worker newspaper for which you may have a subscription and other media outlets have published a letter from the minister of state to other Government ministers including the Prime Minister which indicates that concessions will be made to devolved administrations effectively taking out the check off and facility time arrangements of the Bill."

Responding , Mr Bercow said: "I wasn't conscious that ministers had a hotline to the Socialist Worker newspaper - not yet says the leader of the Liberal Democrats from a sedentary position. I read the journal myself very occasionally when I was a school student, but it hasn't passed my desk since I must readily concede."

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