The former Commons speaker, ex-Tory MP and one-time podcast host, John Bercow, has a new title to add to his repertoire: “serial bully”.
A damning 89-page report by the standards commissioner, Kathryn Stone, and an independent panel described Bercow as someone who had “those whom he favoured and those whom he made victims.” Not only is he a bully according to the panel, he is also a “serial liar”.
The investigation upheld 15 out of 35 claims brought forward by Lord Lisvane, the former clerk of the Commons, and private secretaries, Kate Emms and Angus Sinclair. Amongst the claims, Bercow is accused of throwing a mobile phone, swearing at officials and making a racially and sexually discriminatory remark towards a staff member during his decade as Speaker.
The report concluded that Bercow should be denied a parliamentary pass and noted that had he still been an MP, “we would have determined that he should be expelled”.
Bercow denies all allegations of bullying in a statement in The Telegraph, describing the accusations as “rooted in hearsay and baseless rumour”. He added: “To describe what I have experienced as a kangaroo court is grossly insulting to kangaroos”.
According to the Daily Mail’s deputy political editor, John Stevens, this spritely response is thought to have been the work of the same PR firm Owen Paterson used when facing his ousting from parliament — not that the spin-doctors did Paterson much good.
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Bercow went on to deploy culture war buzzwords in his attempt to talk himself out of trouble, reducing his allegations to ghosting and “hate-filled” staring, before urging readers not to “fall for the Establishment spin.”
With all of the shouting and petty name-calling, it is easy to see how Bercow might have mistaken the Commons for the classroom. But it’s time this 59-year-old bully grew up.