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Mon, 30 March 2020

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Tory MPs to ‘throw kitchen sink’ at John Bercow in bid to oust speaker

Tory MPs to ‘throw kitchen sink’ at John Bercow in bid to oust speaker
2 min read

Conservative MPs are preparing to ramp up pressure on John Bercow by launching a series of parliamentary questions and motions calling on him to resign as speaker.

It comes amid allegations from two of Mr Bercow's past parliamentary secretaries and a former black rod that he bullied them.

In a fresh blow to the speaker, one Conservative MP told the Telegraph he is “up against the ropes”.

“There are people working out how we get to the end game,” they added.

Mr Bercow, who has served in the role since 2009, said in the run-up to his election he would quit the post after no longer than nine years – leaving June 22 as his deadline.

The MP added: "June 22 is a pressure point. If he is still there on June 23 he is going to be there for a while and we would need to get him out with a crow bar.

"I think there will be a point in the next week or two where we start throwing the kitchen sink at him. We have got urgent questions, points of order, business questions, and even speaking in Prime Minister's Questions saying 'will you resign'?"

The intervention comes after Downing Street called for a full investigation into his conduct in the role.

Former private secretary Angus Sinclair claimed he was subjected to a string of angry outbursts, swearing and mimicry while working for the Speaker, and was paid £86,250 when he quit in 2010 in a deal that required him to promise not to speak about his experiences.

Meanwhile his successor, Kate Emms, claimed he undermined and shouted at her, eventually leading to her being signed off sick.

And last week David Leakey, who served as Black Rod for seven years, told PoliticsHome that the speaker’s behaviour “risks bringing Parliament into disrepute”.

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

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

In a fresh intervention Mr Leakey, who retired in 2017, also compared him to disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

“John Bercow is not an altogether bad Speaker. But then Harvey Weinstein is not an altogether bad film mogul,” he told the Sun on Sunday.

A spokesman for the Speaker has vehemently denied the accusations by both former staffers.

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