Bercow must be feeling the heat from Farage’s growing campaign in his hitherto extremely safe seat. It seems he’s resorted to playing on his position as Speaker to raise money. Local Tory members and donors have been surprised to receive begging letters and phone calls from a front calling itself the “Friends of Speaker Bercow” asking for help to fill a £40,000 election war chest. It turns out the politically neutral Speaker’s Office has been mysteriously handing out useful names and addresses to the fund-raising unit (whose name, you’ll note, even includes his “non-political” title,) who then call up asking for cash.
In what has all the hallmarks of a well oiled unit, a second prong of attack is then engaged: After the request for cash, a well-timed invitation to drinks in the Palace is popped through the letterbox. Conflicted Tory members and councillors have, meanwhile, been warned that they will be deselected and expelled at the first hint of disloyalty or for speaking out about the letters by those still loyal to Bercow. Frank Donlon the Secretary of the organisation just confirmed that Bercow had passed on names.