Menu

Login to access your account

Wed, 15 July 2020

Personalise Your Politics

Subscribe now
The House Live All
New appointments this week in UK politics, the civil service and public affairs Member content
Home affairs
Coronavirus
Economy
Press releases
By Hft

Emily Thornberry doubles down on backing for Speaker John Bercow despite Jeremy Corbyn slapdown

Emily Thornberry doubles down on backing for Speaker John Bercow despite Jeremy Corbyn slapdown
3 min read

Labour frontbencher Emily Thornberry has doubled down on her backing for under-fire Commons speaker John Bercow - despite Jeremy Corbyn distancing himself from her comments.


Mr Bercow has faced a string of calls to quit following the publication of a damning report by Dame Laura Cox into bullying in Parliament.

The report accused parliamentary bosses of allowing a "disturbing" culture of abuse to develop in Westminster, and said the entire Commons management team should be replaced. Mr Bercow has also faced claims, which he strongly denies, that he bullied two of his former parliamentary private secretaries.

But, speaking after the report was published, Ms Thornberry said it was "absolutely not the time to be changing Speaker" given the uncertainty around Brexit legislation.

The Shadow Foreign Secretary added: "We do need to have all hands to the deck at the moment".

On Wednesday, Jeremy Corbyn's spokesperson said that Ms Thornberry had been “giving a personal view", saying: "It’s not Jeremy’s view and it is not the view of the Labour leadership."

But the Shadow Foreign Secretary heaped fresh praise on Mr Bercow just hours after the slapdown from her leader.

Asked by Sky News if she regretted the comments, Ms Thornberry said: "Of course not, of course not. I think about 12 years ago I was looking for a Conservative MP to help me with a campaign I was doing to change the law with regards to lesbian mothers and the only Tory I could find was John Bercow."

 

 

The frontbencher was speaking at the Pink News awards in London, which were also attended by Mr Bercow.

Ms Thornberry's latest comments have already been branded "astounding" by a top trade union official.

Amy Leversidge of the FDA, whose members include clerks working in the House of Commons, told the PoliticsHome Podcast: "It is astounding that you can say, well someone helped me out twelve years ago, and therefore that means that they must be a good person."

The union's assistant general secretary added: "What really irritates me about that comment is that one of the recommendations is about this past case issue.

"The MPs blocked any cases from before June 2017 being... investigated under the new policy. So - they’ve almost said we’ll wipe the slate clean for bad behaviour but yet her justification for why she’ll stand by her man is that twelve years ago he helped her out a little bit."

You can subscribe to the PoliticsHome podcast on iTunes here or listen on Soundcloud or PlayerFM

Tags

Education

Categories

Political parties
Partner content
NHS Parliamentary Awards

The NHS Parliamentary Awards sponsored by Fujifilm are a chance for all MPs in England to celebrate the outstanding care they and their constituents receive.

Find out more