John Bercow Says Reading The Socialist Worker Made Him A Tory

John Bercow has revealed the source of his Conservatism - reading the Socialist Worker newspaper as a child.

The Speaker, who was elected as a Tory MP for Buckingham in 1997, told the Commons today the leftwing publication was read by his childhood friends. "Did reading it make me a Tory?" he told Labour's David Winnick. "Probably."

"I read the journal myself very occasionally when I was a school student but it hasn't passed my desk since I must concede," he said.

Bercow was responding to a point of order from an SNP MP who had complained about information revealed by a leak to the newspaper.

The Speaker added: "I wasn't conscious that ministers had a hotline to the Socialist Worker newspaper."

On Sunday, the Socialist Worker revealed a letter sent by Nick Boles on January 26, minister of state for skills, to David Cameron, Oliver Letwin and Chris Grayling.

In the letter, Boles indicates concessions to the Trade Union Bill may be made in order to avoid defeat in the House of Lords.

On February 2, SNP Chris Stevens asked Boles asked Boles whether he would "dump" certain provisions from the Bill from applying to Scotland and Wales. Boles said concessions would not be made.

Stevens asked told Bercow today the letter and Boles' reply to him in the Commons were "contradictory" and asked if the minister was expected to explain himself.

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