MPs block inquiry into allegations of bullying against Commons Speaker John Bercow

Posted On: 
16th May 2018

Calls for a House of Commons investigation into allegations of bullying against John Bercow have been blocked by MPs.

John Bercow had been accused of bullying former members of staff.
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Members of the Committee on Standards voted 3-2 against launching a formal probe into the claims because they are alleged to have happened more than seven years ago.

Two of Mr Bercow's former parliamentary secretaries accused him of bullying them.

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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.

The Committee on Standards met on Tuesday to consider a request by Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, as to whether a full inquiry into the allegations could be carried out.

According to House of Commons rules, a probe into claims dating back more than seven years - like the ones against Mr Bercow - should only take place "in exceptional circumstances".

When the issue was put to a vote, Labour’s Bridget Phillipson and Tory Gary Streeter backed the probe, but and Tories Sir Christopher Chope and John Stevenson, as well as Labour’s Kate Green, voted against it.

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who had requested the investigation, said: "Not only am I not happy; I think the job of Standards is to protect and enhance the reputation of MPs and parliament, and this decision will further diminish our standing in the eyes of the public.

"What you have got is MPs protecting an MP – the Speaker – from an investigation."

A spokesman for Mr Bercow said: "The Speaker notes the committee's conclusions."