John Bercow faces call to grant statement on Commons bullying
Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas will seek to table an urgent question.
Speaker John Bercow is facing a call to grant an emergency Commons statement following claims of bullying of staff by MPs in which he was allegedly involved.
Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas has said she will seek to table an “urgent question” after BBC2’s Newsnight carried a report into the alleged bullying of women clerks responsible for running the business of the House.
The move puts Mr Bercow – who was one of three MPs named in the report – in a potentially difficult position as he would normally decide whether to grant her question.
Ms Lucas, who says she has cross-party support for her request, said that he should stand aside from the decision and leave it to his deputies.
She told The Observer: “I think at the very least he should withdraw from that decision and that the three deputy speakers might judge on that.”
The Newsnight report included a claim that Mr Bercow shouted at and undermined his former private secretary Kate Emms, eventually leading to her being signed off sick.
Mr Bercow has denied the allegations against him, as have the two other MPs named by the programme – Labour’s Paul Farrelly and Conservative Mark Pritchard.
If she is granted a question, it is reported Ms Lucas will ask the Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom for an investigation and for the new independent complaints system announced last month to be extended.
Currently the complaints system only covers MPs’ staff and not those – like the clerks – who are directly employed by the House.