Backlash as bullying suspect john Bercow chairs bullying debate

Marco Green
March 13, 2018

Ms Leadsom said she wanted House of Commons staff to have access to an independent complaints procedure set up previous year for staff directly employed by MPs.

Newsnight claimed one staffer, Kate Emms, left John Bercow's office with PTSD in 2011 because of his "bullying behaviour" - a claim he vehemently denies.

Jeremy Corbyn was embroiled in the row last night after a member of his shadow cabinet was suspended amid bullying claims. "Is it appropriate for Mr Speaker to remain in his place while there are allegations against him which he is trying to suppress using taxpayer-funded money through sending out letters through speaker's counsel?" he asked Leadsom, who reiterated the need to take complaints seriously without directly responding to the query.

Monday's urgent question in the House had been granted by Bercow but he faced criticism for chairing the debate. The Prime Minister is clear there can be no place for bullying or harassment of any kind in Westminster.

"People working in parliament should be able to work without fear of intimidation or bullying and today I'm calling for every member of staff to be given the best possible protection", she said.

Mrs Leadsom said the issue would be considered by the House of Commons commission at its next meeting and she would recommend the matter would be handled by an independent figure rather than MPs.

The Conservative MP James Duddridge said he was shocked that Bercow was allowed to chair the debate. Elected with the support of Labour MPs, Mr Bercow is disliked by many Conservatives, some of whom have complained that he has compromised his independence by speaking out against Brexit.

John Bercow has enraged MPs and is facing renewed calls to resign after he was found to have affixed a sticker to his vehicle window which said: "b-- to Brexit, it's not a done deal".

And addressing the Speaker directly, she said: "No one, critics or otherwise, can deny your commitment to accountability and transparency and attempts to move the House forward".

Mr Farrelly told the Commons that he had been "flayed by selective leaking" and said the Newsnight report had been "one-sided".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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