John Bercow accused of calling Andrea Leadsom 'stupid woman' following Commons bust-up

Posted On: 
18th May 2018

John Bercow has been accused of calling Andrea Leadson a "stupid woman" following an angry Commons bust-up.

John Bercow has failed to deny making the remarks about Andrea Leadsom.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Speaker - who has previously been forced to deny bullying claims - is said to have uttered the remark in the wake of Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday.

A furious Mr Bercow had just launched a thinly-veiled attack on Mrs Leadson, the Commons leader, in a row over parliamentary procedure.

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Labour chief whip Nick Brown had raised a point of order complaining about the Government tabling statements on an Opposition Day, thereby reducing the amount of time available for debate.

As Mrs Leadsom looked on, a clearly-irritated Mr Bercow said: "One looks to people traditionally with responsibility for safeguarding the rights of the House, of whom the chair is one, but not the only one, to take these matters very seriously.

"I hope that that message is heard loudly and clearly on the Government front bench, at the highest level, by the people in particular by whom it needs to be heard.

"If I have to make the point again on future occasions... no matter what flak emanates from the executive, I will do so in the future, as I have always done over the past nine years, and no one and nothing will stop me doing my duty by the House of Commons."

Eyewitnesses have said they they heard Mr Bercow call Mrs Leadsom a "stupid woman", while he is also alleged to have described her as "f****** useless".

A spokeswoman for the Speaker’s Office did not deny that Mr Bercow had made the remarks.

She said: “Wednesday was an unusual and controversial day in how business was handled in the House by the government - and some strong and differing views were expressed on all sides on the subject.

"The Speaker treats his colleagues with respect and strives at every turn to facilitate the House of Commons."

It emerged on Wednesday that MPs on the Committee on Standards had voted 3-2 against launching a formal probe into claims of bullying made against the Speaker by two of his former parliamentary secretaries.

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. The Speaker has strenuously denied all the allegations against him.

An new complaints procedure is being set up in Parliament for members of staff facing bullying or harassment, but will not examine historical allegations.

A source close to Andrea Leadsom told the Daily Telegraph: "Andrea is absolutely determined to see the independent complaints procedure up and running as soon as possible. As for Bercow’s terrible temper, it would be completely unacceptable to treat someone like that in any other walk of life."