John Bercow has come under renewed fire this week over allegations he bullied members of staff while working in the Commons. Former Black Rod David Leakey came forward to claim that Bercow – who denies the allegations – ‘brutalised Commons staff’. And Lord Lisvane, a former chief clerk of the House of Commons has also submitted bullying allegations about Bercow to the parliamentary standards authority. But happily, Bercow does still have some friends in high places to support his battle to gain entry into the Lords, including Labour’s Diane Abbott.
The shadow home secretary pledged her support to the ex-speaker this morning. Abbott tweeted that it was ‘unlikely’ Leakey had actually been bullied because he was a former ‘Lieutenant General who served in Germany, Northern Ireland and Bosnia’:
Never mind the fact that Leakey actually claimed that Bercow ‘did not intimidate me… but the visible effect of such behaviour on other parliamentary staff was quite appalling’; clearly Abbott also missed the Ministry of Defence’s review into bullying and harassment in the military last year. Nor does it seem as if she paid much attention when Labour pledged in 2019 to make Parliament a place with ‘zero tolerance of any form of bullying or harassment.’
Or perhaps that doesn’t matter when you’re fond of the person who has been accused…