Commons Speaker John Bercow dismisses fresh bullying claims
Commons Speaker John Bercow dismisses fresh bullying claims
John Bercow left was prone to “over-the-top anger” says Angus SinclairLEON NEAL CHRIS JACKSON
03 May, 2018, 10:13
- Some lawmakers are urging the speaker of Britain's House of Commons to resign after a former employee accused him of bullying.
The ex-commander of the Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier Illustrious said: 'The idea that Angus was bullied is just unconscionable and outrageous.
'It is a matter for Parliament to decide how to proceed, but the latest allegations are concerning and should be properly investigated'.
'I am determined to stamp out all forms of bullying and harassment in Parliament, and separate to these allegations, I encourage any member of House staff who has experienced mistreatment to provide their confidential testimony to Dame Laura Cox'.
He was given a £86,000 pay-off and claims he had to sign a non-disclosure agreement about his departure to "cover up" the abuse. Mr Bercow has strenuously denied the claims.
He said the clerk of the House had explained that such agreements between the Commons and staff were "not nondisclosure agreements" and "do not in any way seek to prevent disclosure of wrongdoing on public interest grounds, i.e., whistleblowing".
The Speaker's former private secretary Angus Sinclair told BBC2'sNewsnight that Bercow had mimicked him, swearing and shouting, once smashing a mobile phone on the desk in front of him.
An independent judge-led inquiry is being conducted into claims of bullying at Westminster, but it will examine the working "culture" in the Commons and not investigate individual cases or reopen past complaints.
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The former private secretary said Mr Bercow was prone to "over-the-top anger", adding: 'I'm not sure he was completely in control of it.
The Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, a long-time critic of Bercow, said he should consider his position in the wake of the fresh allegations. The arms would wave around'.
"I think at a time when we are looking for culture change in the House of Commons with regard to bullying and harassment, I think it's very hard if the head of the organisation is mired in these allegations".
Mr Bercow is already facing separate bullying allegations from Mr Sinclair's successor, Kate Emms.
"There was lots of unhealthy language and out of the blue his cell phone, which he'd been holding, was flung on the desk in entrance of me and broke into lots of bits".
"Yes, it breaks that non-disclosure agreement, but it's the truth".
"What I'd done was sign a cover-up and, in a cynical way, I'd been paid to do it, and that's not a good feeling", he said.
Bercow's office said Wednesday that the speaker "strenuously denies" the allegations.
Later Bercow told MPs: "I have a superb team of dedicated, effective, and long-serving staff, five of whom have served me for a collective total of over 40 years".
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