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Wed, 21 October 2020

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John Bercow should be denied peerage if bullying claims upheld, says Andrea Leadsom

John Bercow should be denied peerage if bullying claims upheld, says Andrea Leadsom
2 min read

Moves to give John Bercow a peerage should be put on hold while new bullying claims against him are investigated, according to Andrea Leadsom.

The former Leader of the Commons said the ex-Speaker should “not be able to skip from one House to the other” if he is found guilty.

She spoke out as Lord Lisvane, who served as Commons chief clerk for the early part of Mr Bercow’s tenure, confirmed that he had passed a dossier of allegations to the Parliamentary commissioner for standards.

According to The Times, the claims detail incidents where the Speaker is said to have bullied staff and used inappropriate language.

The news came just days after it emerged that Jeremy Corbyn has nominated Mr Bercow for a place in the House of Lords as part of the dissolution honours list.

But Ms Leadsom, who repeatedly clashed with Mr Bercow in the chamber, once publicly accusing him of calling her “a stupid woman”, said the current allegations need looking into first.

She told LBC: “As Leader of the Commons, I did a huge amount of work to bring into place a complaints procedure that would mean nobody whoever they are, from employees of the house right the way to the Speaker of the Commons, could be allowed to get away with bullying, or harassment, or sexual harassment of any sort whatsoever.

“That complaints procedure is in place. Anybody who is found guilty, whoever they are, should, in my view, not be able to skip from one House to the other.”

Asked if Mr Bercow was found guilty of an offence he should be denied a peerage, she added: “Anybody who has bullied or mistreated other people, not treated them with dignity and respect, is subject to this complaints procedure.

“And ultimately should complaints be upheld, it would be unlikely that they could go from the House of Commons to the Lords.”

Earlier this week Downing Street suggested Boris Johnson could block the ennoblement of Mr Bercow, who was first elected as a Tory MP, citing a “long-standing convention” that opposition leaders nominate individuals from their own party. 

In a statement, Mr Bercow said: "During the five years that we worked together, Lord Lisvane had ample opportunity to raise any accusations of bullying with me.

"At no stage did he do so, even though he became Clerk of the House - the most senior official. The timing of this intervention is curious."

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