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Thu, 4 June 2020

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Lords speaker hints that John Bercow should face probe over bullying claims

Lords speaker hints that John Bercow should face probe over bullying claims
2 min read

The Speaker of the House of Lords has suggested his Commons counterpart John Bercow should face a parliamentary investigation into allegations he bullied staff.

Lord Fowler, who runs the Upper Chamber, said similar claims would be probed if made about top Lords personnel.

Mr Bercow has been accused of shouting at his former parliamentary secretary Angus Sinclair, who claims he was subjected to swearing, mimicry and angry tirades.

His successor Kate Emms alleged that her treatment by the Speaker led to her being signed off sick with stress.

Mr Bercow denies the allegations but has so far evaded a parliamentary inquiry, as a Commons probe set up to consider bullying will not look into past cases.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Lord Fowler said: “It is a matter for the Commons. But if a similar thing happened here there would be an investigation into the individual.”

The comments come after the Commons Speaker was forced to admit he had called Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom "stupid" during a debate.

Mr Bercow has faced criticism from other senior parliamentary figures, with former Black Rod David Leaky branding his behaviour “genuinely intimidating”.

Mr Leakey said earlier this month that the Speaker had erupted in rages and used highly personal insults against him.

He added: “His rage erupted, as on a previous occasion, and the red mist suddenly descended: it was quite disproportionate and unreasonable by any standards.

“His explosive and intemperate behaviour is legendary, objectionable and unworthy of someone in such public office - conduct which many not stand up to the standards expected in public life.

"There were lots of people who were, frankly, terrified of the Speaker.”

Mr Bercow has strenuously denied all the allegations against him.

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