Login to access your account

Sat, 31 October 2020

Personalise Your Politics

Subscribe now
The House Live All
Home affairs
Press releases

John Bercow 'flew into rage' with staff after his toothpaste was confiscated at airport, new book claims

John Bercow 'flew into rage' with staff after his toothpaste was confiscated at airport, new book claims
2 min read

John Bercow "flew into a rage" with a member of his Commons staff after his toothpaste was confiscated at the airport, a new biography has claimed.

The former Speaker has been hit with a fresh bullying storm after former staff revealed further details of "appalling" bullying behaviour during his time in office.

The claims, revealed in a new biography of Mr Bercow, include several accusations from Commons staff, including his former private secretary Kate Emms.

According to the book, John Bercow: Call to Order, the then-Speaker became enraged with Ms Emms after his toothpaste was confiscated by airport security staff, leading to him ignoring her for the rest of their journey.

"He was absolutely outraged," a family member said. "He thought that was profoundly disrespectful. He didn't talk to Kate for the whole of a nine-hour flight, which was ridiculously out of proportion."

In a similar incident in which he was forced to put his bag in the aircraft's hold, he is alleged to have blamed Ms Emms, leading to him "denigrating her competence".

The accusations will put Mr Bercow's hopes of securing a peerage in further jeopardy, and comes after Commons authorities criticised his decision to name some of his accusers in his recently published autobiography.

Mr Bercow - who was put forward for a peerage by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - has strenuously denied all bullying claims made against him and insisted there was an "obvious conspiracy" to block his path to the House of Lords.

Meanwhile, other former Commons staff claimed Mr Bercow would "throw a paddy" if Roger Federer, his favourite tennis player, lost a match.

The complainant said if the Swiss tennis pro was beaten then "you'd know what you would be walking into that morning... he would throw a paddy - stamping, slamming doors, screaming".

The book also details claims of thrown phones and car keys, with one Commons source revealing an "appalling" row between Mr Bercow and then-Tory Leader of the Commons Sir George Young.

They said: "It ended with Bercow screaming, shouting and swearing at him - jabbing his finger in his face, spittle flying from him... how on earth was he supposed to deal with that?

"The bullying was appalling. The doorkeepers used to tell us about all the shouting, especially in the evenings."

Engineering a Better World

Can technology deliver a better society? In a new podcast series from the heart of Westminster, The House magazine and the IET discuss with parliamentarians and industry experts how technology and engineering can provide policy solutions to our changing world.

New episode - Listen now

Partner content
Connecting Communities

Connecting Communities is an initiative aimed at empowering and strengthening community ties across the UK. Launched in partnership with The National Lottery, it aims to promote dialogue and support Parliamentarians working to nurture a more connected society.

Find out more