Speaker John Bercow among MPs accused of bullying Commons staff

Posted On: 
9th March 2018

Commons Speaker John Bercow is among a number of MPs accused of bullying parliamentary staff, it has emerged.

Commons Speaker John Bercow is said to have shouted at an aide "a lot"
PA Images

The Buckinghamshire MP is alleged to have shouted at and undermined his former private secretary Kate Emms - eventually leading to her being signed off sick.

Conservative MP Mark Pritchard and Labour MP Paul Farrelly have also been accused of bullying staff, it was revealed as part of an investigation by BBC Newsnight.

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Mr Bercow has been a vocal supporter of better protections for parliamentary staff and has repeatedly called on parties to do more to crack down on harassment and bullying.

Ms Emms - who began working for him in May 2010 - was reportedly signed off work in February 2011 with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Colleagues said Mr Bercow shouted at her “a lot”. She was later appointed to a different role in the Commons that would allow her to avoid the Speaker.

A spokesperson for Mr Bercow told the BBC: “The Speaker completely and utterly rejects the allegation that he had behaved in such a manner, either eight years ago or at any other time.

“Any suggestion to the contrary is simply untrue.”

Newcastle-under-Lyme MP Mr Farrelly - who was accused of shouting obscenities at committee clerk Emily Commander during an overseas trip - said the claims had been investigated but not upheld.

One witness on a committee trip in 2004 said: "He was a complete and utter bully. He wound her up like a screw and reduced her to tears.

“The more he upset her, the more he enjoyed it, the more he kept turning the screw. He was very aggressive. It felt like no one had the ability or authority to intervene. Everybody knew it was wrong."

Mr Farrelly added that he had apologised to the woman in question for “inadvertently” causing her stress.

The Wrekin MP Mr Pritchard - who was accused of bullying and belittling a clerk in 2012 and “exploding” when she booked him the wrong hotel for a trip - said there were no records of complaints against him.

Newsnight said other MPs are alleged by dozens of female workers to have slapped, groped and kissed female staff against their will.

A Commons spokesperson said: “The House of Commons takes pride in being a responsible and supportive employer, and does not tolerate bullying or harassment of any kind.”