John Bercow: 'Bullying claims are an attempt to throw spanner in the works for peerage'

5 February 2020, 14:19

Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

John Bercow has said claims of bullying are an "orchestrated attempt" to "throw a spanner in the works" for him being handed a peerage.

The former Commons speaker made the comments to LBC's James O'Brien on Wednesday, where he addressed repeated allegations from a former official as "total and utter rubbish".

Speaking about his relationship to the official David Leakey - who served as Black Rod until 2018 - he said it was a "working relationship" that "didn't work".

"Yes, I had an argument with him in May 2011 and June 2012...and for the remaining years until he retired in 2018 we got on adequately," he said.

"When the relationship ended, he held out his hand to me and said: 'I understand'."

John Bercow dismisses bullying accusations as 'total and utter rubbish'

Mr Bercow went on to say that Lieutenant General Leakey's claim that he "brutalised" staff was part of "an orchestrated attempt by a number of people to throw a spanner in the works."

"And hope that provides the basis to turn me down [for peerage]," he added.

Peerage is something that is usually handed to retired speakers.

"As far as I'm concerned, those allegations are total and utter rubbish," he continued.

"There is no merit of substance in them whatsoever."

Bullying complaint 'filed against former Commons speaker John Bercow by top official'

Mr Leakey is not the first person to accuse Mr Bercow of bullying.

A report in The Times in January said Lord Lisvane, who was the former speaker's top official, had handed a dossier of allegations to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

It said Mr Bercow had bullied and humiliated the staff.

After Mr Bercow left in October last year, Sir Lindsay Hoyle took over the Speaker's chair.