Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Sunday, 6 December 2009

Commons Speaker John Bercow denies writing sex guide

John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons
Mr Bercow was chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students

Commons Speaker John Bercow has insisted he was not the author of a guide to chatting up women.

Press reports claiming he had penned The John Bercow Guide to Understanding Women were mistaken, he said.

The guide, which included tips on luring drunk women, was published in a magazine for young Tories in 1986.

But Mr Bercow said in a statement it had been a parody of him at a time when he was chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students.

According to press reports, the guide included the advice that "women will settle for anything that breathes and has a credit card".

As a chat-up line, it suggested: "If you're free later maybe we could go back to your place and name your breasts."

Labour candidate

The article, which appeared in a publication called Armageddon, re-surfaced last week.

"There has been some confusion in media reports about the so-called John Bercow Sex Guide," said the Commons Speaker in a statement.

"This article was not written by me but about me, mocking the fact that I was the last person likely to express the sentiments cited in the piece.

"I made this clear when the story first surfaced in the South London Press [newspaper] 23 years ago and am doing again now."

A spokesman for the Speaker had previously stated that the article did not reflect Mr Bercow's views, but stopped short of denying his authorship.

The article was brought up again by the media last week after Mrs Bercow, the Speaker's wife, confessed in a press interview to binge drinking and casual sex when she was in her twenties.

Mrs Bercow, who is to stand as a Labour candidate in the Westminster City Council elections next May, also courted controversy by criticising Tory leader David Cameron.

But Mr Bercow said his wife, a former Tory activist who has been a member of the Labour Party for more than a decade, was an "independent person" and her campaign was neither "odd" nor "embarrassing" for him as a Tory MP and her comments would not affect his ability to chair Commons debates in an impartial fashion.

Mr Bercow was the final chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students, which became notorious for its raucous behaviour and was disbanded in 1986 by then Tory chairman Norman, now Lord, Tebbit.

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