Economy

Commons speaker among those to be investigated for bullying

Commons speaker among those to be investigated for bullying”

In an expose, which also included similar claims against two other MPs, Mr Bercow was accused of shouting at and undermining his former private secretary Kate Emms - eventually leading to her being signed off sick. "I am committed to stamping out all kinds of bullying and harassment in parliament".

In a unusual twist, Mr Bercow himself chaired the urgent question, which had been tabled by Green MP Caroline Lucas and had requested that a deputy speaker take his place.

"People working in parliament should be able to work without fear of intimidation or bullying and today I'm calling for every member of staff to be given the best possible protection", she said. She was part of the secretariat on the harassment working group set up late a year ago by Ms Leadsom.

Mrs Leadsom said the issue would be considered by the House of Commons commission at its next meeting and she would recommend the matter would be handled by an independent figure rather than MPs.

Mr Bercow survived a backbench rebellion in 2015 - glowering at then Commons Leader William Hague when the results of a vote fell in his favour.

Conservative MP James Duddridge - a long-term critic of Mr Bercow - questioned whether it was "appropriate" for Mr Bercow to chair the proceedings given he had been named in the BBC report. "There are now considerable grounds to assert the respect policy does not have the confidence of the staff it is meant to protect", she said.

Several Labour MPs spoke out in Bercow's defence during the debate, including the shadow House of Commons leader, Valerie Vaz, who questioned whether any formal complaints had been received.

The former Labour deputy leader has told friends she is "prepared to throw her hat into the ring", with Mr Bercow embroiled in a damaging bullying row, according to the Sunday Times.

News that there is to be an investigation into Parliamentary bullying is likely to pile further pressure on Bercow, following allegations that his private secretary resigned in 2011 and suffered PTSD after working for him.

But he admitted part of his motivation was down to his views on Brexit - and a feeling that the Speaker "trumpets" his pro-EU views "from the rooftops".



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