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03 March 2024

Saucy pic of UK speaker's wife raises storm in Britain

A selection of British daily national newspapers shows front pages and headlines about Sally Bercow, the wife of the House of Commons speaker, posing naked in a bedsheet in London. Bercow admitted Friday she had been a "complete idiot" in allowing herself to appear in a British newspaper naked save a bedsheet. (AFP)


The wife of the House of Commons speaker admitted Friday she had been a "complete idiot" in posing for a British newspaper naked save for a bedsheet.

John Bercow's wife Sally, 41, appeared in London's Evening Standard on Thursday wrapped only in the white sheet, standing before a window overlooking parliament.

In a story titled "My bedroom secrets", she said her 48-year-old husband had turned into a sex symbol since taking the speaker's chair in June 2009.

Sally Bercow has raised eyebrows with her extrovert actions - admitting in the past she used to drink heavily and engage in one-night stands when she was single - and her latest public appearance has heaped further pressure on her husband.

The speaker of the lower house is one of the highest offices in Britain, presiding over debates in what is dubbed the "mother of all parliaments" in a role dating back to at least 1377.

"Politics can be sexy because power is an aphrodisiac," Sally Bercow told the Standard. "Since John became speaker, the number of women who hit on him has gone up dramatically."

But amid the ensuing political storm Friday, she expressed regret.

"I was probably stupid to do it," she told BBC radio. "I was a fool really to agree to be photographed in a sheet. I didn't really think through the implications.

"It was just meant to be a bit of fun but obviously it has completely backfired on me and I look a complete idiot."

She brushed off suggestions that it was not in keeping with what was expected from the speaker's wife and insisted it was "all a storm in a bedsheet".

"It's quite a tasteful photograph and my husband's not exactly thrilled about it but he's pretty cool really."

While John Bercow is from the governing Conservative Party, his wife has stood for the opposition Labour Party and and her political interventions have been seen by some as undermining the speaker's neutrality.

Once he was elected speaker, Bercow set about imposing a new style, ditching the traditional breeches and wig.

Rather than simply barking "Order! Order!" during rowdy exchanges, he often gives MPs an extended lecture about how the public view such behaviour.