Sat, 25 June 2022

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John Bercow attacks Government over peerage snub as he denies bullying claims

John Bercow attacks Government over peerage snub as he denies bullying claims
2 min read

John Bercow has attacked the Government for not awarding him a peerage as he "categorically" denied fresh allegations of bullying.

The former Commons Speaker said ministers had defied a "centuries-old convention" by not recommending that he enter the House of Lords.

He spoke out after Lord Lisvane, who served as Commons chief clerk for the early part of Mr Bercow’s tenure, passed a dossier of allegations against him to the Parliamentary commissioner for standards.

They include claims that the ex-Speaker bullied staff and used inappropriate language during his decade in the post.

Mr Bercow said the timing of the development was "curious", an apparent reference to the fact that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has recommended him for a peerage in the New Year Honours list.

In a subsequent statement, he said it has "become increasingly obvious that the Government has no intention of honouring the centuries-old convention that a departing speaker is promptly elevated to the House of Lords".

"Indeed, it has been suggested to me that the Government actively seeks to block any other attempt to nominate me for membership of the upper House," Mr Bercow continued.

"I have seen in the media that Lord Lisvane is formally complaining that I bullied staff. For the record, I categorically deny that I have ever bullied anyone, anywhere at any time."

Mr Bercow, who first elected as a Tory MP in 1997 and stood down in November last year, said Lord Lisvane had "ample opportunity to raise any concerns about such conduct with me" during their several years working together.

He added: "Therefore, he had not merely a right but a responsibility to act if he thought that he witnessed misconduct.

"The simple fact is that he did not at any time do so. Even though he frequently disagreed with me on a wide range of issues, he did not once complain to me and neither did any other official on his behalf."

 Downing Street said the claims by the ex-Commons Clerk are “very concerning” and they “need to be investigated thoroughly”.

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