Bercow’s barmitzvah gift

Should he tire of being Speaker of the Commons, John Bercow would be a shoo-in for president of the Board of Deputies, judging by his reception at a lunch the other day.

Admiring deputies lapped up their guest of honour, greeted as an “Edgware lad made good” of whom the community was immensely proud.

Declaring pride in his Jewish heritage, Mr Speaker drew applause when he mentioned his late father teaching him “to stand up for what I am… and not to seek to hide it”.

Israel, he said, should always be treated with respect in parliamentary debates as it is the Middle East’s only democracy.

And his voice betrayed a tremor of emotion when he recalled first being taken there by his father as a barmitzvah present.

    Last updated: 11:00am, January 28 2010