James O'Brien confronts John Bercow over bullying allegations

5 February 2020, 13:44

James O'Brien confronts former Commons Speaker John Bercow over allegations he bullied parliamentary staff and politicians, which he branded "preposterous."

Mr Bercow said the accusations are "total and utter rubbish" and he "utterly and unreservedly refutes them."

"There is no merit or substance whatsoever and one of the people who keeps taking to the airwaves to criticise me has frankly not the slightest idea what he's talking about," said the former Commons Speaker, referencing accuser ex-Black Rod David Leakey.

"He's in no position to make any such allegations. He didn't work for me, he's wasn't an employee of the House of Commons."

Mr Bercow shared that himself and Mr Leakey did have two altercations but until the latter retired from the House of Lords they got on "adequately."

Converse to Mr Leakey's allegations, Mr Bercow said he had a high number of positive and fruitful working relations and the accuser in fact had "no knowledge of my relation with House of Commons staff."

Accuser David Leakey (left) with Speaker John Bercow
Accuser David Leakey (left) with Speaker John Bercow. Picture: PA

"David Leakey and others are perfectly entitled to their views of my Speakership," said Mr Bercow, "what they cannot credibly do is accuse me of bullying of which they have not a scrap of evidence."

When coming up against entitled people who were used to having their say and having their way, they weren't used to and resented being confronted by a "reformed Speaker," he said.

James asked about the secretary whom which John Bercow allegedly bullied and why the member of staff had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, to which the Speaker said he had no awareness of it, what was in it and it was not stipulated by himself.

Mr Bercow admitted he was unsure if he will be accepted in to the House of Lords as is the convention for the Speaker.

"In this instance it's very obvious that there is an orchestrated attempt by a number of people to throw a spanner in the works, to throw as much mud at me as they think they can possibly do and hope that will provide the basis for turning me down."

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