James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
John Bercow: There is an 'orchestrated campaign to assassinate my character'
18 February 2020, 07:30
Controversial former Commons Speaker John Bercow has hit back at Parliamentary staff members who accused him of bullying, branding them "snobs and bigots" and said he's the victim of character assassination.
Speaking at a Guardian event he told Owen Jones he was shocked when the claims first emerged.
The former Tory MP said: “I was astonished when those allegations first surfaced on Newsnight nearly two years ago and for the best part of two years I’ve had to put up with this issue being weaponised against me.”
Former Clerk of the House Lord Lisvane and former Black Rod Lieutenant-General David Leakey have filed complaints against Mr Bercow.
Lord Lisvane, who was one of the Speaker’s most senior officials, has reportedly handed a dossier of allegations to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
The document is said to accuse Mr Bercow of having bullied and humiliated staff, including using inappropriate language.
Speaking at the event Mr Bercow said: “More recently it’s very obvious there is a concerted and orchestrated campaign to assassinate my character.”
He explained many staff members he worked with during his decade in the Chair remained loyal, which goes against the claims of what he called the “snobs and bigots faction”.
He said: “One characteristic that so far several of the detractors have in common, and they are now going public, briefing, smearing, trying to use the media to prosecute the case against me ... is that they are institutionalised."
He added: "They are change-resistant and they are people who are very long accustomed not just to having their say but to having their way.”
He said he was also patronised by some staff, adding: “I make no apology for the fact that I fought my corner. But the idea I was some sort of raging bull ... has no credibility at all.”
Previously Mr Bercow said it was "blindingly obvious" that there is a "conspiracy" to stop him getting a seat in the House of Lords.
When asked by Owen Jones about the subject he said he “did care” that the decision had been made against him and broke precedent.