Lords’ Speaker adds support to call for John Bercow bullying investigation

Steven Swinford
John Bercow - AFP

John Bercow should be investigated by Parliament over claims he bullied his staff, the Lord Speaker has suggested.

The Commons Speaker has been accused of bullying by Angus Sinclair, his former private secretary, who said he was physically intimidated, demeaned and mimicked before he took compulsory retirement.

David Leakey, who was Black Rod until last year, said Mr Bercow displayed “intolerable” rudeness and “explosive” behaviour that terrified his subordinates.

Mr Bercow strenuously denies all of the claims. The Prime Minister has she was “concerned” by the allegations and called for an investigation, but senior MPs blocked an investigation by Parliament’s Standards Commissioner.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Lord Fowler – Mr Bercow’s counterpart in the Lords – said: “It is a matter for the Commons. But if a similar thing happened here there would be an investigation into the individual.”

Lord Fowler said relations between members and staff were more respectful than they once were Credit: Andrwe Crowley 

On bullying and harassment more generally, he thought relations between members and staff were more respectful than they once were.

But Lord Fowler criticised Mr Bercow’s decision to bar Donald Trump from addressing Westminster Hall and made clear that the US president could instead address the Royal Gallery, which is under his authority.

He said: “You can’t just disregard him. If we start that the number of state visitors will be cut down. It is not in our national interest to snub the US.”

Mr Bercow also allegedly called Andrea Leasom, the Leader of the Commons, a “stupid woman”. Lord Fowler said: “It’s not language I would have used”, but said he would not criticise Mr Bercow because there’s “enough going on”.

John Bercow | A controversial Speaker

The Lord Speaker defended peers from accusations they were “geriatric” and “dinosaurs”. He said: “It isn’t borne out by the facts. We probably have the best set of experts of any second chamber of any senate I know in the world. There isn’t anything wrong with being old.”

On Brexit, he said Lords were entitled to scrutinise the Government and offer amendments. “In the end the Commons will make the decision.”