Theresa May ‘concerned’ over John Bercow bullying allegations

Posted On: 
9th March 2018

Theresa May is “concerned” over allegations of bullying made against the House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, Number 10 has said.

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

Mr Bercow was one of three MPs accused of intimidating parliamentary staff as part of a Newsnight expose.

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

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Responding to the claims today, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “The report from Newsnight is concerning. The Prime Minister is clear there can be no place for bullying or harassment of any kind in Westminster.

“And everybody should be free to work in an environment that is safe and respectful. If any complaints are made they should be fully investigated.”

Asked if Mrs May had confidence in Mr Bercow, the spokesman replied: “Yes.”

Conservative MP Mark Pritchard and Labour MP Paul Farrelly were also accused of bullying clerks of the House.

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.

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.

The coverage raised concerns that Parliamentary processes to deal with such complaints were not protecting all staff.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said today: “I am disappointed with what I saw last night. There is a formal process now. People will hopefully make those complaints and they will be properly formally investigated."

While Labour’s shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler added: "The clerks of the House are phenomenal resource and we couldn’t do our work without them.

“And they put a lot of work in and they like anybody else deserves to be respected in everything they do. So I was shocked to read the accusations yesterday."

The spokesman conceded that there was more work to be done to ensure that allegations of bullying and harassment against all those working on the estate were properly dealt with.  

He said: “Then aim is for further work to be undertaken so that employees of the two houses can be included in these new arrangements.”