Has Bercow’s wife made it easier for the UKIP leader?
Could today’s news that the Speaker’s wife, Sally Bercow, has been selected to stand for Labour in next year’s London elections add to her husbands problems in fighting off the challenge from Nigel Farage in Buckingham?
For her action might just provide the peg for the UKIP campaign to persuade Tory supporters that they “have permission” not to vote for the Speaker who, by tradition, is not opposed by the mainstream parties.
Another tradition is that Speakers are above party politics and this development could put a question mark over that. Of course we live in a modern age where the parties to a marriage can follow their own paths – but will that resonate with Buckingham’s traditional Tory voters?
Until now the main case against Bercow, a former Tory, was that he was elected to the job mostly by Labour MPs – the result of him appearing at times to be more sympathetic to that party than his own.
That of itself was probably not enough to provide the traction for a serious bid by UKIP in the seat – but today’s development changes all that.
On top of having to get re-elected to parliament Bercow has a second hurdle to surmount – there will be a new vote for Speaker by the new house of commons. There was talk of him being opposed which never quite seemed likely. Again Sally’s action will add to that possibility.
I’ve put another Â£100 on Farage at Ladbrokes at 100/30.