Bercow faces Wheeler’s millions at election

By staff

Commons Speaker John Bercow faces a tough struggle to save his seat at the general election after multimillionaire Stuart Wheeler pledged to fund Ukip’s challenge to his Buckingham seat.

By convention the three main parties do not challenge the Speaker at the general election, but Ukip’s former leader Nigel Farage has pledged to run against Mr Bercow at the general election.

His prospects have improved significantly after Mr Wheeler’s offer of financial support. The Times newspaper reported he was prepared to provide around £100,000 to help Mr Farage’s campaign.

“I don’t think the Conservatives would mind too much if Mr Bercow lost his seat,” Mr Wheeler told the newspaper.

Mr Bercow, who had drifted from the right to the centre before giving up partisan politics to become Speaker, was the kind of Tory which Mr Wheeler would not feel natural sympathy with.

He donated £5 million to the Tories before the 2001 election but switched allegiance to Ukip last year after David Cameron refused to commit to a referendum on the Lisbon treaty even after it had become law.