House of Commons speaker admits using word 'stupid' but not as an insult to South Northamptonshire MP

John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom
John Bercow and Andrea Leadsom

The Commons speaker has admitted using the word "stupid" in the House of Commons but it was not followed by "woman" or aimed at Andrea Leadsom, as it was first alleged last week.

It was rumoured John Bercow had insulted the South Northamptonshire under his breath last week, prompting him to set the record straight in Parliament this afternoon.

Mr Bercow told his colleagues he had said "stupid" as a muttered aside in response to the scheduling of an important Government statement on 'opposition day'.

Mrs Leadsom, as leader of the house, is responsible for the scheduling of affairs.

Mr Bercow told MPs: "Last Wednesday, the Government chose to schedule a major transport statement on an opposition day, thereby substantially reducing the time available for opposition business.

"I thought then, as I think now, that this was very badly handled.

"It was in particular disrespectful to the house and to the 23 backbenchers who were hoping to participate in the debate on the Grenfell tower disaster.

"It was in that context - and that context alone - that having expressed my displeasure about the matter quite forcefully from the chair, I used the word stupid as a muttered aside.

"That adjective simply summed up how I felt about the way that day's business had been conducted.

"Anyone who knows the leader of the house at all well will have not the slightest doubt about her political ability and her personal character.

"I love this house. I respect all of my colleagues: I hold you all in the highest esteem."

He added: "For my part, I shall continue to speak out firmly for the interests of the whole house and if from time to time it involves publically disagreeing with the Government's management of business, then so be it."

Andrea Leadsom has been contacted for comment.