Philip Hammond and John McDonnell clash over ‘Tory bully boys’ jibe
Philip Hammond and John McDonnell have clashed in the Commons today in a heated exchange over historic bullying claims.
Responding to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement Mr McDonnell accused vocal Conservative MPs of being “Tory bully boys”.
But Mr Hammond hit back with a reference to remarks made by the shadow chancellor in 2014 in which he referred to “lynching” Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey.
Mr McDonnell has repeatedly refused to apologise over the comments and has maintained that he was paraphrasing what had been said by campaigners.
Reacting to Conservative MPs shouting in the Chamber today as he delivered his Spring Statement response, the shadow chancellor said: “The Tory bully boys can shout all they want….
“They can make their snide remarks. People out there know the crisis in our communities.”
Mr Hammond replied: “He talks about Tory bully boys. I heard him referring to some of my honourable friends as Tory bully boys.
“Can I just remind the House: this is the man who still refuses to apologise to my Right Honourable Friend the Work and Pensions Secretary.
“I don’t want to hear about bullying from the benches opposite. The public can draw its own conclusions.”
The row comes as Parliament is under scrutiny over bullying claims made against three MPs by Commons staff, including the Speaker John Bercow.
In a debate yesterday, Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom announced an inquiry “into allegations of systemic bullying” which would hear from past and current employees.
However, Mr Bercow was criticised by his Tory colleagues for chairing the proceedings, with Rochford and Southend East MP James Duddridge, asking: "Is it appropriate for Mr Speaker to remain in his place when there are allegations against him?"