How would you define bullying? Perhaps it involves aggression or intimidation? Or perhaps bullying might include name-calling or the use derogatory language? But according to Labour’s would-be deputy Dawn Butler, bullying goes quite a bit further than that.
During an interview with Sky’s Sophy Ridge this morning, Butler told the presenter that she thought the Tories were ‘bullying’ John Bercow by denying him a seat in the House of Lords. The former Speaker is himself currently subject to multiple allegations of workplace bullying, allegations that he denies. Butler told the show:
‘It is the norm that the Speaker of the House is always given a peerage, so I think the first question for me is why hasn’t he been given a peerage from the Conservatives?
‘I would like to know the reason why he wasn’t given a peerage. I suspect it’s actually do to with Brexit rather than anything else.’
‘You really do need to ask the Conservatives, why is it that you haven’t, like everybody else, ensured that the Speaker of the House is given a peerage. Otherwise, I think that’s a form of bullying too.’
The Labour MP insisted that ‘due process’ takes place in respect of the allegations against Mr Bercow. And Mr S would obviously agree. But surely withholding a peerage so that these allegations can be properly investigated is the very definition of due process rather than a form of persecution in itself?