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Thu, 22 October 2020

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John Bercow hit by third bullying allegation ahead of peerage decision

John Bercow hit by third bullying allegation ahead of peerage decision
3 min read

John Bercow has been hit by a third allegation of abusive behaviour by a senior Parliamentary figure as he awaits the decision on whether he can be handed a peerage.


The Sunday Times is reporting that Angus Sinclair has handed a dossier over to authorities claiming the former Speaker of the House of Commons taunted, humiliated and shouted at him during his time as his private secretary.

Mr Bercow is facing a slew of bullying claims which have been submitted to a Parliamentary watchdog since he stepped down last year, all of which he denies.

He has claimed it is part of a co-ordinated attempt to prevent him from being elevated to the House of Lords, after it emerged Jeremy Corbyn was going to nominate him for a move to the upper chamber.

The House of Lords Appointments Commission is set to meet this week to vet the names put forward by the outgoing Labour leader in his dissolution honours list.

But a source familiar with the views of the panel told the newspaper: “Bercow will not be approved.

“There are serious problems with two of Labour’s nominations.”

The second nomination under threat of rejection is believed to be that of Karie Murphy, Mr Corbyn’s chief of staff, who has also faced bullying claims by staff.

Mr Sinclair is said to have signed a non-disclosure agreement and been paid £86,000 to leave his role quietly after clashing with Mr Bercow, who he once described as a “poison dwarf at the top of the system”.

He has also previously said he was hit by the flying parts of a mobile phone the ex-Speaker had thrown at a table, who alternated between shouting at him and ignoring him.

It comes after similar claims by Lord Lisvane, a former clerk of the House, and Lieutenant-General David Leakey, who served as Black Rod, a senior Lords official, both of whom have made official complaints.

Mr Bercow hit back this week, claiming in his autobiography he and Mr Sinclair had disagreements about modernising the role of the Speaker, writing: “Angus was a traditionalist and I was a reformer.”

But his decision to name current and former Commons officials without their permission drew an official rebuke from the House authorities, who said it was "unacceptable".

In a statement issued on Mr Bercow’s behalf to the Sunday Times it said he “categorically refutes these allegations, as he did when they were made two years ago”.

It adds: “They are being repeated now as part of a co-ordinated lobbying campaign by a small group of people . . . to prevent him going to the House of Lords.

“The allegations were unfounded then, as colleagues testified in 2018, and they remain without foundation.”

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