The wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons branded the decision to recall parliament yesterday to pay tribute to Margaret Thatcher "ridiculous."

Speaking at the opening of the new offices of diabetes charity Silver Star in Whitchurch Lane in Edgware, Sally Bercow said she was sorry about the death of the former prime minister and Finchley MP, but felt it had not been treated proportionally.

She said: “I thought it was absolutely ridiculous to recall parliament. It is not a national emergency, it could have waited five days.

“I think David Cameron wanted his Diana, ‘peoples princess’ moment. But she was not Princess Diana.”

Mrs Bercow added she had heard the recall had been the subject of tense exhanges between th her husband John Bercow and Number 10.

She added: “I think there were words behind the scenes, and it does break with parliamentary procedure. But ultimately John decided to give the Prime Minister what he wanted.”

Mr Bercow declined to comment.