By Tony Winterburn • 25 January 2020 • 8:48
A formal bullying complaint has been filed against ex-speaker John Bercow by his former most senior member of staff
Two former parliamentary staff are considering making formal complaints against John Bercow, amid claims the former Speaker “brutalised” staff. David Leakey says he’s never seen anyone treat people as badly as “John Bercow treated regularly the people around him”.
It comes just days after Lord Lisvane, the former clerk of the House of Commons, submitted a dossier of allegations against Mr Bercow to the Parliamentary Standards Authority. David Leakey, the former Black Rod in the Houses of Parliament, called for complainants to come forward as he warned Mr Bercow brought one former Leader of the Commons to tears.
“In my case, he’s denied bullying me, in my own experience, I would call him a liar. It’s simply not true. And I’m sure there are plenty of witnesses to that as well. So I’m sure there will be other people coming forward.”
Commenting on whether it would be right for Mr Bercow to be handed a peerage following his departure from the Commons, Mr Leakey said: “I wouldn’t want to make any direct comparison between the charges levelled against Harvey Weinstein in New York at the moment with the allegations made against John Bercow. They’re of a different order.
Earlier this week Mr Bercow called the timing of Lord Lisvane’s complaint “curious”. Downing Street has said the claims are “very concerning” and should be “investigated thoroughly”. Mr Leakey added: “My opinion is that he brutalised staff in the House of Commons and elsewhere, including myself in that.
“It wasn’t just those top people, it was people much further down the pecking order. And he tried to do it with others – politicians as well that went into his office.” He said: “I’m 67 years old. I’ve worked in the military, government departments in Brussels and Whitehall and Westminster, in business, in parliament for seven years.
“I’ve never seen anybody in my entire life treat anybody as badly as John Bercow treated regularly the people around him…. Including the leaders of the house in the House of Commons. “One in particular came to me to recount to me two episodes of meetings with John Bercow that even now almost bring tears to his eyes.”
The allegations emerged following Labour’s decision to nominate Mr Bercow for a peerage, which is against convention.
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