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Picture 27 As most readers will know, I have long been a friend and supporter of the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, and have generally sprung to his defence when his detractors have carped and criticised.

So it is somewhat unusual for the words "John Bercow was wrong" to pass my lips, but today I have cause to utter them.

Last night, he was interviewed on stage by the Independent's Steve Richards in the latest of the latter's Rock and Roll Politics series.

Judging by the account I have read from Sam Macrory of The House Magazine/ePolitix, the event sounded rather fun, and I'm sorry to have missed it.

However, I am also sorry that the Speaker chose to launch an attack on the Daily Mail. Macrory explains that Bercow described the Daily Mail

as a “sexist, racist, bigoted, comic cartoon strip”, with Bercow apologising for breaking the trade descriptions act for describing the Mail as a “newspaper.”

The newspaper – and its sketchwriter, Quentin Letts, in particular – has long had it in for him, and he and his family have found themselves under fire in print on a regular basis. So I understand why he would privately bear the publication ill will.

But I fear his public comments last night not only went too far in criticising the political worldview of the paper (albeit in grossly hyperbolic terms), but they will also merely encourage the paper to lambast him whenever an opportunity arises with added gusto. I would rather he had pleaded the fifth.

PS The Independent website now carries some video clips of the evening here.

69 comments for: Jonathan Isaby: John Bercow was wrong to attack the Daily Mail as “a sexist, racist, bigoted, comic cartoon strip”

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