‘A disgrace to the office of Speaker’: Farage lashes out at Bercow

Nigel Farage and John Bercow have become embroiled in a bitter argument after the Commons Speaker made positive comments about immigration on a visit to Romania.

Bercow was speaking during a visit to the Romanian parliament in Bucharest when he praised the work ethic of its people and offered an upbeat assessment of immigration into the UK.

"I believe things should be controlled and monitored when it comes to migration – any state that wants to protect its own people should do this – but there are also great advantages," he said.

"I want to underline the fact that there has been an important wave of immigrants that came to Great Britain from new member states and in many cases they came with aptitudes and a commitment, an involvement we haven't always seen in our labour force."

He added: "A free media is a vital part of a democracy. But the media is not the government and it is not parliament. I am here as a friend of Romania and someone who sees the benefits of immigration."

The remarks earned a vicious rebuke from Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who accused Bercow of trampling on the neutrality of his office.

"It is outrageous that Mr Bercow is happy to overthrow the wisdom of ages and think it acceptable to comment on matters that are both highly political and deeply contentious," he said.

"He is a disgrace to the office of Speaker.

"There are very good practical and constitutional reasons why the Speaker is neutral, reasons that he obviously believes are beneath his own august self image."

Bercow has long courted the ire of right wingers with an increasingly progressive world view, not least when he addressed the Queen by praising her 'kaleidoscope nation'.