Ken Clarke says John Bercow is victim of 'witch-hunt' over bullying row
John Bercow is the victim of a "witch-hunt" and should not be removed as Speaker over the Commons bullying row, Ken Clarke has said.
The veteran Conservative MP said there was "nothing that justifies" Mr Bercow's replacement in a damning report into harassment and abuse of Parliamentary staff.
The Speaker has faced calls to stand down after the results of Dame Laura Cox's inquiry were published earlier this week.
It accused Parliamentary bosses of allowing a "disturbing" culture of abuse to develop in Westminster which was "actively" covered up.
Dame Laura said the entire Commons management team be replaced - which was widely interpreted as a call for Mr Bercow to quit after 10 years as Speaker.
But speaking on Newsnight, Father of the House Mr Clarke said: "If you listen to the judge who did this report there is nothing that justifies the removal of John Bercow. I’m not in favour.
"We have to have a witch-hunt a week in the modern media. It’s all nonsense removing Bercow. The one way in which he is a very good Speaker he does let Parliament have its say, he does make government accountable
"I have never known a more pathetic Parliament. The Parliament has so far failed to exercise any real influence over events. That’s why you have referendums - to neutralise Parliament."
Mr Bercow has reportedly told friends that he will stand down as Speaker next summer.