SPEAKER Bercow has been enjoying the adoration of lesser mortals at farewell parties. For his official one he chose as guest speaker Labour’s Dame Margaret Beckett MP, 76. She stood against him for the Speaker’s chair in 2009. After calls for him to quit over bullying allegations, which he denies, she said: ‘The constitutional future of this country trumps bad behaviour.’ In 2015, Dame Margaret described herself as a ‘moron’ for nominating Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership, adding: ‘At no point did I intend to vote for Jeremy myself, nor advise anyone else to do it.’ What a dame!
POIROT star David Suchet, 73, pictured, reveals that he informed important director George Roy Hill that he was ‘unhappy about doing sex scenes’ in the 1984 film adaptation of John Le Carre’s The Little Drummer Girl. Confronted with ‘a Russian model in only a G-string,’ he adds: ‘There I was, on top of this girl, and when we heard the word “Action!” well, let me put it this way: she was going for an Oscar.’ Sacre bleu!
FACING suspension for offering to buy cocaine for a male prostitute, Labour MP Keith Vaz has the consolation of knowing that a number of parliamentary colleagues owe their careers to him. Westminster correspondent Michael Crick points out: ‘In the old days Vaz and (deputy leader) Tom Watson often chaired the three-person National Executive Committee panels which drew up selection shortlists. They agreed to share seats out 50-50 – Vaz choosing Blairites, Watson picking Brownites.’
CAST as bossy Princess Margaret in the upcoming series of Netflix’s The Crown, Helena Bonham Carter, 53, says she’s channelling the late royal, explaining: ‘A lot of the time, [screenwriter] Morgan will send re-writes. I can just say, “No”. I pull rank. It’s the licence to be powerful. “Don’t want any new lines now, mate. You should have given me them last week! Can’t do.”’
HAVING already hosted a reception for the Royal Commonwealth Society receiving High Commissioners of countries of which she hopes to be queen, Camilla entertains the Society at a Buckingham Palace reception this week. Commendably, she’s anxious to support the Commonwealth Charles will lead one day. Except when it involves lengthy, long-haul visitations, to which she is averse.
THERESA May’s Brexit Festival, scheduled for 2022, is a celebration of culture, sport and innovation set to cost at least £120 million. Might it be dramatically scaled back – or suffer the molten fate of the Brexit 50p coin, which was due to be released tomorrow? Its inscription, ‘Peace, Prosperity and Friendship with All Nations’ didn’t impress the Queen, I hear. Shown the design at a Privy Council meeting, she is said to have considered it ‘trite’.