JOHN BERCOW, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has been criticised for chairing a debate on his own alleged bullying of staff.
Mr Bercow was attacked by some MPs as he oversaw the discussion on the issue of staff complaints in Parliament yesterday.
It came days after the BBC’s Newsnight reported that Mr Bercow allegedly shouted at and undermined his former private secretary Kate Emms, which led to her being signed off sick.
Two other MPs — Labour’s Paul Farrelly and Conservative Mark Pritchard — were also accused of bullying in the programme. All three strongly deny the claims.
During the debate, Commons leader Andrea Leadsom announced a new ‘short, independently-led’ inquiry into allegations of bullying and how they are dealt with.
But Tory MP James Duddridge asked: ‘Is it appropriate for Mr Speaker to remain in his place while there are allegations against him?’
Some MPs shouted ‘shame’ in response, apparently at Mr Duddridge, while Mr Bercow did not respond.
Meanwhile, Mr Farrelly accused the BBC of broadcasting a ‘one-sided’ programme. The BBC said: ‘We stand by the findings of our Newsnight report which has now prompted an investigation by the House of Commons into the allegations revealed by the programme.
‘All the MPs were approached for a response to the claims in the report which we broadcast in full.’