What a hoo-ha over an alleged attempted kiss in the not-very-romantic setting of the rowdy Strangers’ Bar in the House of Commons.
It is said that Brexit Secretary, the convivial David Davis, was so exhilarated by the outcome of a Brexit vote that he leaned over in a supposed attempt to kiss Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary. Abbott, not at her most ladylike, brusquely told him to Foxtrot Oscar.
This episode, scarcely an issue of political gravity, might well have ended there with laughter all round (possibly not on the face of Abbott), except that in a subsequent exchange of text messages with a friend, Davis said he had not attempted to kiss her and that anyway he was “not blind”.
It was these last two words (for which Davis apologised) that turned a frivolous piece of light-hearted fun into a grave issue of sexism.
Parliament is becoming more sanitised as each day passes. Would someone please call a halt and allow the Commons to become again the bawdy place it once was?
- John Bercow, the under-siege Speaker of the House of Commons, has apparently indicated through a series of nods and winks that he would like to stay in post until 2020.
It had been widely assumed Bercow (pictured), who now faces the possibility of a vote designed to oust him in the wake of his anti-Trump tirade in the Commons, had planned to step down early next year.
So, in the face of his current problems, is this to be regarded as a smart move on his part or foolhardy? I am in the “foolhardy” camp.
Many Tory MPs have had more than their fill of Bercow as Speaker. They support the motion to oust him, but were probably reluctant to vote for it.
There is now a suggestion that Bercow may have compromised his neutrality even further by telling students he had voted “Remain” in the EU referendum and that he was liberal about immigration.
A garrulous person like Bercow may not like that, but that is how it has to be if you are Speaker.
Very little is straightforward any more at Westminster.