Bercow peerage ‘scuppered’ by fresh claims
JOHN BERCOW’S hopes of receiving a peerage appeared to be extinguished last night after he was rebuked by the Commons and accused of using “sexually and racially inappropriate” language by his former most senior official.
After the former speaker was admonished for naming those he is accused of bullying in his autobiography, The Daily Telegraph can reveal he faces fresh claims of offensive behaviour.
Lord Lisvane, the former Commons clerk, is understood to have set out details of Mr Bercow making alleged inappropriate remarks in a complaint to the Commissioner for Standards, Parliament’s
watchdog. Lord Lisvane declined to comment, but senior allies confirmed his complaint went beyond allegations of bullying and harassment to include examples of comments made by Mr Bercow in his presence.
A spokesman for Mr Bercow dismissed the claims as “unadulterated rubbish”, adding: “As speaker [he] made constant efforts to increase diversity and inclusion. His record as a champion of gender, racial and LGBT equality speaks for itself.”
A senior parliamentary official said he had “no chance” of a peerage.
Separately, the Commons last night condemned the former speaker for naming parliamentary staff in his autobiography without their knowledge or consent. Two were senior officials who Mr Bercow categorically denied bullying, one of whom has not chosen to speak out against him publicly.
The statement, sanctioned by Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Mr Bercow’s successor, said his actions were “unacceptable” and that Parliamentary authorities “condemn this behaviour”. Sir Lindsay is believed to be incensed at Mr Bercow’s decision to discuss at length one official who is understood to have been signed off sick after working with him.
Sources said the Speaker’s Counsel – Parliament’s in-house legal team – were combing through the book to assess if further action was required.
Mr Bercow’s spokesman defended his decision to name officials, saying a “small but highly vocal group” were “seeking to blacken his name”. He added: “It would be odd if he did not comment on their unfounded allegations and the reasons behind them. Critics are entitled to air their views. They are not entitled to make unfounded allegations and expect Mr Bercow to say nothing in return.”
John Bercow has been accused of using ‘sexually and racially inappropriate language’ by one of his former officials