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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’.

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