John Bercow

John Bercow

John Bercow has revealed how he was left “shaken” as a schoolboy after a fellow pupil questioned his Jewish credentials – and his father’s words of comfort that have remained with him.

The Speaker of the House of Commons (pictured) was visibly moved as he recalled the event during an address to the Board of Deputies’ Chanukah reception in Parliament on Tuesday.

He said: “I had my barmitzvah at Finchley Reform Synagogue in 1976 and a while afterwards I was saddened and shaken when a pupil who knew my mother was not born Jewish – she converted – said to me ‘of course you’re not really Jewish’. I was upset by this and I went to tell my father. Dad said to me – and it probably sounds rather cynical but it was well meant – ‘just remember you’re quite Jewish enough for the Nazis’. He told me to be proud of what you are and stand up for it. That is what the British Jewish community has done.”