Now Bercow ‘calls Leadsom a useless and stupid woman’
JOHN Bercow called a Cabinet minister a ‘useless, stupid woman’, it was claimed last night.
The Speaker – who is already facing allegations of bullying – is said to have fired the jibe at Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom following angry exchanges on Wednesday.
A witness claims he saw Mr Bercow describe Mrs Leadsom as a ‘stupid woman’ under his breath, before adding that she was ‘f***ing useless.’
A source close to Mrs Leadsom, who was made aware of the alleged remarks by colleagues, said she was ‘ stunned’ by the attack, but intended to ‘rise above it’.
A spokesman for the Speaker did not deny the allegation last night, but said it had been an ‘unusual and controversial’ day on which ‘some strong and differing views were expressed on all sides’.
The spokesman insisted Mr Bercow ‘treats his colleagues with respect’.
The controversy comes as the Speaker is battling separate allegations of bullying, which he strongly denies.
It will put further pressure on him to keep to his previous promise to stand down next month, which he is now resisting.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen last night called for him to quit over his latest alleged outburst.
Mr Bridgen, who reported him to the parliamentary standards watchdog over bullying allegations, said: ‘John Bercow claims to support feminism and diversity, and virtue signals at every opportunity, but obviously it’s not the case when it comes to Tory MPs. I think it’s fair to say that his behaviour is becoming more strange by the day. John Bercow should go now before he damages our parliamentary democracy any further.’
Wednesday’s row came after Mr Bercow took Mrs Leadsom to task for timetabling a statement on the nationalisation of the East Coast Main Line on a day allocated for Opposition debates. Although the procedure is not unusual, Mr Bercow reacted angrily.
Staring at Miss Leadsom, and waving his finger, he delivered a two-minute lecture about parliamentary procedure.
He said: ‘One looks to people traditionally with responsibility for safeguarding the rights of the House, of whom the Chair is one, but not the only one, to take these matters very seriously. This is an undesirable state of affairs, and if it were to happen on further occasions, a great many MPs, not to mention interested parties in the Opposition day debates outside the Chamber, would view it, frankly, as an abuse.’
Mrs Leadsom, who has clashed previously with Mr Bercow, appeared to ignore him, staring straight ahead while he spoke. This appeared to irritate him further, leading him to add: ‘If I have to make the point again on future occasions, and to use the powers of the Chair to facilitate the rights of this House in other ways, no matter what flak emanates from the Executive, I will do so in the future.’
He was then seen to allegedly swear under his breath.
Mr Bercow has faced a number of bullying claims. Kate Emms, his former private secretary, left her role after less than a year amid allegations she was bullied by him. Angus Sinclair, another former private secretary, has accused him of being physically intimidating and demeaning and David Leakey, who retired last year as Black Rod, claimed people were ‘terrified’ of Mr Bercow.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Hudson, had asked for permission to investigate the allegations against him, but the Commons committee on standards voted to reject her plea because the claims against him are more than seven years old.
Stunned: Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom
‘Unusual day’: John Bercow