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Former Commons Speaker John Bercow Was A "Serial Bully" And A "Liar" Says Parliamentary Investigation

Former Commons Speaker John Bercow Was A 'Serial Bully' And A 'Liar' Says Parliamentary Investigation

(Alamy)

3 min read

A report by Parliament's Independent Expert Panel has upheld 21 separate allegations of bullying and harassment against former Commons Speaker John Bercow.

The allegations, referred to the panel by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, were brought by three former House staff relating to incidents which took place between 2009 and 2014.

One complainant claimed the former Speaker "shouted and mimicked" his employees, while another said the MP often displayed "threatening conduct" and "undermining behaviour".

A third former staff member claimed that the Speaker had subjected them to a "sustained course of conduct.. that involved repeated unfounded criticism of the complainant" which included "derogatory inferences about [his] upbringing and background".

Bercow has strongly dismissed the findings of the report, claiming that "to describe what I have experienced as a kangaroo court is grossly insulting to kangaroos".

In its report, the IEP claimed that parliament's bullying and harassment policy was "breached repeatedly and extensively by the most senior Member of the House of Commons" and that all 21 allegations had been "proved and have been upheld".

"This was behaviour which had no place in any workplace. Members of staff in the House should not be expected to have to tolerate it as part of everyday life," the report read.

"No person at work however senior, indeed particularly such a senior figure, should behave in this way. This was an abuse of power."

The panel also accused Bewcow of being "widely unreliable and repeatedly dishonest" in relation to his evidence, adding that he has "attempted to defeat these complaints by false accusations of collusion and by advancing lies".

It continued: "The findings of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, which we have upheld, show that the respondent has been a serial bully.

"Like many bullies, he had those whom he favoured and those whom he made victims. These three complainants were victims.

"His evidence in the investigations, the findings of the Commissioner, and his submissions to us, show also that the respondent has been a serial liar."

Bercow has denied the allegations, and denounced the investigation as "amateurish" and a "travesty of justice".

He urged the public not to "fall for the Establishment spin" that he had been banned from Parliament, after the panel ruled that the former Speaker should not be allowed to possess a pass to access the estate.

"At the end of it, the panel has simply said that I should be denied a parliamentary pass which I have never applied for and do not want. That is the absurdity of its position," Bercow said.

“Don’t fall for the Establishment spin that I have been banned for life. I can still attend debates with the help of a friendly passholder or go as a member of the public.”

The former speaker went on dismiss the legitimacy of the evidence given to the IEP, claiming that "gossip from absent friends of the complainants has been treated as the absolute truth, whilst eyewitnesses who challenged the allegations were described as ‘not helpful’ and discounted".

Former Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said she hoped that Labour would "reflect" on Bercow's membership following the findings.

"Everyone in Parliament should be treated with dignity and respect. I welcome today’s findings, and I hope that this brings closure to the victims.

"I am sure that Keir Starmer will want to reflect on the Labour Party’s position and Mr Bercow’s membership of the Party in light of the findings. It is my view that Keir Starmer should expel Mr. Bercow from the Labour Party."

The former Tory MP announced last year that he had joined the Labour party with the objective of getting "rid" of the government.

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