John Bercow suggests he will remain as Speaker until 2022 despite bullying claims
Defiant John Bercow has dropped a strong hint he intends to stay on as Speaker for another four years despite claims he bullied parliamentary staff.
The Commons Speaker told MPs he was unanimously returned to his post following last year's general election, suggesting he plans to stay in place until 2022.
Mr Bercow has come under pressure after two of his former parliamentary secretaries accused him of bullying.
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.
Mr Bercow was previously alleged to have shouted at and undermined Mr Sinclair's successor, Kate Emms, eventually leading to her being signed off sick.
A spokesman for the Speaker said he denied the allegations.
In the Commons, Tory MP James Duddridge - a long-standing critic of Mr Bercow - pointed out that when he became Speaker in 2009, he only planned to stay in the job until 2018.
“Can we have a debate in government time about what we want from a Speaker, what type of Speaker we want, before we move to a secondary discussion about who we want to replace you?" he asked.
But Mr Bercow shot back: "After each general election, the proposition about the Speaker returning to the chair is put and it is then voted upon by the House.
"And the Honourable Gentleman will recall that I indicated my willingness to continue in the Chair in June of last year.
“That proposition was put to the House and it was accepted unanimously. If this Honourable gentleman had wanted to oppose it he could have done.
“But simply as a matter of fact - I'm not making any criticism or favourable comment - but simply as a matter of fact I remind the House that he did not."
Meanwhile, Commons leader Andrea Leadsom chipped in: “Mr Speaker you have served this House for a very good number of years and to the best way that you possibly can.
“I am grateful to you for that and I'm not sure that a debate on the subject that my Honorable Friend suggests would be at all welcome."
Earlier this month, the former Black Rod - a top parliamentary post - said the behaviour of the Speaker was "unworthy of someone in such public office".
David Leakey, who retired last year after seven years in the job, said the Speaker was "genuinely intimidating" and revealed that he had personally experienced his bad temper.
Mr Bercow has so far been spared a probe as a Commons inquiry set up in the wake of a string of bullying allegations will not consider past cases.