Page last updated at 02:34 GMT, Saturday, 14 November 2009

Speaker 'relaxed' over wife move

John and Sally Bercow
Mr Bercow will be able to vote for his Labour-supporting wife

The Commons Speaker John Bercow has said he is "very relaxed" about his wife standing for office as a Labour candidate.

Sally Bercow is campaigning for a seat on Westminster Council in next May's local elections.

The Tory MP told the BBC that his wife was an "independent person" and her campaign was neither "odd" nor "embarrassing" for him.

Mr Bercow was elected Speaker in June after Michael Martin's resignation.

'Well-known affiliation'

He has vowed to be absolutely "impartial and fair" in the role, in which he chairs parliamentary debates and calls MPs to speak.

Formerly a Tory activist herself, Mrs Bercow has been a member of the Labour Party for more than a decade.

It has long been known that my wife is a supporter of the Labour party
John Bercow
Commons Speaker

Asked about her decision to stand for office - in a interview to be broadcast on Sunday - Mr Bercow said it would not make his life as Speaker difficult.

"It has long been known that my wife is a supporter of the Labour party so I don't think there is anything odd, embarrassing and certainly nothing underhand about it," he told the Andrew Marr Show.

He pointed out that his predecessor Michael Martin had a number of relatives, including his MSP son Paul Martin, who were politically active during his time in the role.

"Frankly, I am very relaxed about it. Most fair-minded people would accept that my wife is perfectly entitled to her political affiliation."

Should he wish, Mr Bercow will be able to vote for his wife as the ward in which she is standing includes the Palace of Westminster, where the Bercows live in an apartment with their three children.

Westminster Council is dominated by Conservatives, with only 10 Labour members.

The full interview with the Speaker, covering MPs' behaviour, expenses and reform of Parliament, will be shown on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One on Sunday 15 November at 0900 GMT.



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SEE ALSO
Speaker's wife to run for Labour
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