UK Politics

Speaker's wife Sally Bercow voted off Big Brother

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionSally Bercow said she was embarrassed at being the first to be evicted - courtesy Celebrity Big Brother - Channel 5

Sally Bercow, wife of the Commons Speaker, has become the first contestant to be voted off the reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother.

Mrs Bercow, who admitted husband John did not want her to take part, has been criticised for undermining his role.

But she said had she wanted to raise money for charity and "stick two fingers up to the establishment".

Labour MP Kate Hoey had said some of her fee should go towards her family's grace-and-favour apartment.

'A loser thing'

Mrs Bercow - whose husband, a former Tory, has been Commons Speaker since 2009 - was one of 11 contestants taking part in Celebrity Big Brother. She emerged from the house to boos from those waiting outside.

The mother-of-three said she was "a bit embarrassed to be the first one out".

"It's a bit of a loser thing to be the first one out but I'm looking forward to seeing my children," she said.

"I had a lot of opposition to going into the house - well, from various people in the political world and indeed from my husband who I love very much.

"But he did not want me to go into the Big Brother House... a lot of people did not want me to go in because it's not something the Speaker's wife does."

Mrs Bercow added: "I'm really glad I've done it, partly because I've raised £100,000 for my charity."

£150,000 fee

Mrs Bercow earlier said she would donate £100,000 of her £150,000 appearance fee to the charity Ambitious About Autism, paying £20,000 to publicist Max Clifford and keeping the remaining £30,000.

By tradition, the Commons Speaker and their family live in residence known as Speaker's House - within the Palace of Westminster.

Some MPs have been pressing for the Speaker, who earns about £146,000 for his dual role as Commons figurehead and constituency MP, to pay rent on the lodgings.

Miss Hoey, who represents Vauxhall, in south London, said taxpayers should not have to contribute to Mrs Bercow's rent-free accommodation, given the amount she was earning on the show.

Mrs Bercow, a Labour activist who failed in her attempt to become a local councillor last year, has courted controversy in the past.

She told the Evening Standard earlier this year that her husband had become more sexually attractive since taking on the job, with more women trying to "hit on" him.

The interview was accompanied by a picture of her posing in a bed sheet against a backdrop of Parliament. She said she was a "fool" to agree to this but said it was "harmless fun".

Mr Bercow, himself unpopular with some Tory MPs, has dismissed attacks on his wife by the media, saying she is an "independent" figure and "entitled to her views".

More on this story