Saturday 24 March 2012

MP seeks apology from the Mail

In yet another column attacking John Bercow ('twisty-faced', 'squawking like a country-lane pheasant'), Mail political columnist Quentin Letts writes:

MPs on both sides of the House are becoming openly scornful of the Chair. Labour’s Jamie Reed has a sulphurous disregard for Mr Bercow. And we may not have heard the last of the Jake Berry business. Mr Berry strikes me as one of life’s terriers. We all know what terriers do to rats.

Jamie Reed was rather surprised by this claim and has written to Letts and his editor:

Dear Mr Letts

I was surprised to read in your online column published on 22 March and in the printed edition of the Daily Mail published on 23 March that "Labour's Jamie Reed has sulphurous disregard for Mr Bercow."

I am surprised for two reasons. First of all, we have never met, let alone spoken with each other and so am intrigued as to how such a baseless representation of my view could ever have been formed. Secondly, my estimation of John Bercow really couldn't be better. In my view, Speaker Bercow has immeasurably improved the House of Commons. Moreover, as Speaker of the House, John Bercow represents one of the most positive influences upon politics in the country at large that I have wtinessed during my seven years as a Member of Parliament.

Unfortunately, the view of the Speaker ascribed to me by you is either the product of geuinely mistaken identity on your part, or else it is a deliberate and knowing lie.

Whatever the genesis of this, clearly both a retraction and as apology are now due at the earlier opportunity.

UPDATE: Letts ended his 27 March column with this:

Let me end by putting right a frightful mistake I made last week about Jamieson Reed (Lab, Copeland). After Squeaker Bercow’s fruity ‘kaleidoscope Queen’ speech, Comrade Reed issued a Tweet saying what a mighty orator Mr Bercow was.

Many of us, including friends of Mr Reed, assumed that he was being sarcastic. But no. The good lad says he meant it!

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