Further to Guido’s story yesterday that the Bercows have over £400,000 in the bank, an eagle-eyed bean counting co-conspirator spotted a detail tucked away near the bottom of their company’s accounts: the outline of an accounting policy for government grants. That policy is typically only for businesses which have relied on the furlough scheme.
Given that the accounts statement also shows the company only employs two people (John and Sally), there are a limited number of ways the grants could have been spent. Guido wonders whether these tough economic times left John with no choice other than to furlough Sally for the past year…
UPDATE: HMRC documents reveal that the Bercows did claim furlough money, with the report showing that their company (Fedhead Ltd.) made three claims across December 2020, January 2021, and February 2021 for a total of up to £30,000.
It is a cliché that Holland Park School – for which even the Guardian has used the description “the alma mater of the left-wing aristocracy” because it has been full of generations of Benns and Toynbees – is famously known as the “Socialist Eton”. The school is not like other state schools and allows progressive parents to maintain snob values without sending their children to a fee-paying school. Perfect you might think for the likes of the Bercows. In fact, Sally Bercow even got herself elected as one of the two-parent governors on the board.
She faced some criticism in 2018, perhaps not fully justified, over voting to authorise spending thousands on posh Jo Malone scented candles and Farrow & Ball paint. This is nothing to the muttering since in late 2019 her husband John Bercow got himself elected to be the other parent governor. Posh parents claim that he actually campaigned for the position, phoning around to solicit votes.
Guido is at a loss to understand why both Sally and John thought it a good idea to take all the elected parent governor positions on the board. There are obvious reasons why this is not a good idea to anybody with any self-awareness or understanding of the principles of good governance. Guido has heard muttering that they take stances that advance their own children’s interests.
There was nothing in the rules to prevent a couple from running for the two parent governor positions because no one conceived of that possibility. It has now dawned on the other governors that it is unlikely the Bercows will do the conventional thing and they don’t see how they can make a move without causing more trouble than it really is worth. As parliamentarians can attest, unseating a Bercow is not easy to do…
Welcome back to Twitter to Sally Bercow, whose return has been verified by her lawyer David Allen Green. Sally is picking up where she left off, starting with a vocal defence of Brexit-hating rebels Dominic Grieve and Lord Moat:
Plenty of tweets and retweets accusing Number 10 of lying about Brexit and Theresa May of “dangerous, anti-democratic nonsense”:
She is also clearly enjoying trolling Bercow critic James Duddridge and insists the Speaker isn’t going anywhere:
Good to have you back, Sally…
Guido’s co-conspirator gets in touch to say that Sally Bercow has now put a poster in the car windscreen, embellished with an EU flag, claiming it’s her car and she can do anything she wants. The co-conspirator would send an updated picture if there were not policeman stationed around the car…
The Serjeant-at-Arms’ office has been calling all day demanding we remove the picture because – they now claim – it poses a safety risk to the Bercow family. Perhaps in reality it is the personalised number plate that gives the owner away?
UPDATE II: In the comments Guido is reminded that Sally previously had a car with her own number plate:
So is this car really hers?
Quentin Letts’ new novel ‘The Speaker’s Wife’, is published today. It is about Parliament and the Church of England, mainly. In the book a sly little backbencher fancies his chances of becoming Speaker of the Commons. To help him win the Chair, his supporters devise an election strategy called ‘Operation Chaise’ and it is laid out in a document which states:
“A would-be Speaker must show himself devoted to the House. He attends the start of Questions every day and adjournment debate every evening. Statements, Urgent Questions, Opposition-day debates – all attract his presence. Even Westminster Hall.
A would-be Speaker has a safe seat and can therefore afford to be magnanimous in debate. By arguing against pork-barrel issues he will present himself a politician of principle and impress the weekly columnists who deplore low populism. Immigration is a worry in his seat? He makes a speech deploring racism. It will cost him a few thousand votes but he will impress Hon Members whose political views are so much more refined.
A would-be Speaker is rude to his own frontbenchers, yet not to backbenchers on both sides. He catches the eye of those who have just spoken and nods in agreement. He may even write these MPs notes of congratulation and have them taken immediately to the recipient by the doorkeepers. He extols the ‘clarity and verve’ of plodders. They will be pathetically grateful. He tells ranters that ‘despite the false polarities of our parliamentary system and the silly convention that we should heckle one another, it must remain possible to hear a colleague on the other side of the House speak – ‘as you just did with such remarkable succinctness and courage’ – and agree with every word that is uttered’. These letters may be composed in a florid hand, in a fountain pen.
A would-be Speaker will also defend any MP who has been attacked by Grub Street. He will disdain those who ‘undermine the work we all do in this place’.”
Fiction? The book also has a sexy young Russian woman who gains a security pass to the Palace of Westminster. But of course that is an absurd fiction, as Mike Hancock will tell you. As for a colourful speaker’s wife, is that plausible?
Available on Amazon: The Speaker’s Wife
The Prime Minister told the 1922 Committee this morning that the government would be re-electing John Bercow when the Commons convenes next week.
Apparently Dave said “I think we’ve got more on our plate than the Speaker”.
Intriguingly, Bercow has more on his plate at the moment too. Namely being cuckolded by his cousin.