Diane Abbott: 'Unlikely' ex-soldier could be bullied by Bercow

5 February 2020, 09:57

The MP made the comments on Twitter
The MP made the comments on Twitter. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A former Parliamentary official has said it would be a "scandal" if John Bercow was given a peerage but Diane Abbott has lept to his defence.

David Leakey, who served as Black Rod until 2018, has stuck by his allegations against John Bercow and warned against giving the former Commons speaker a peerage.

Lieutenant General Leakey told the BBC he thought it would be a "scandal that Parliament would struggle to live down." if John Bercow was given a peerage.

Referring to Mr Bercow, Lt Gen Leakey said: "He would fly into a rage, the red mist would descend.

"And he would be jumping up and down and balling out, and shouting insults.

"He called me an anti-Semite once after being rather rude and insulting about my background, education and military career."

The former speaker branded the allegations against him as "total and utter rubbish" and said Lt Gen Leakey was "completely and utterly ignorant" of his relations with Parliamentary staff.

He told Sky News: "He is in absolutely no position whatsoever to comment on my relations with my parliamentary colleagues, of which he is completely and utterly ignorant.

"He doesn't know what my relations were with my clerks. He has absolutely no intelligence on those matters whatsoever.

"What we have got here is somebody who left the House, who is thrashing about, desperate to remain relevant, popping up at every turn, trying to make himself seem very important, very centre-stage, very at the heart of things in the way that I went about my work."

Mrs Abbott made the comments on social media
Mrs Abbott made the comments on social media. Picture: Twitter

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott came to Mr Bercow's defence, claiming it was "unlikely" that a former senior military officer could be bullied by John Bercow.

"Allegations come from former parliamentary official David Leakey," she said.

"He had been a lieutenant general who served in Germany, Northern Ireland and Bosnia, but claims he was bullied (i.e. intimidated and coerced) by John Bercow. Unlikely."