UK
19/03/2018 20:16 GMT

Independent Inquiry To Be Held Into Parliament Bullying Claims

An independent inquiry will be held into allegations House of Commons staff were bullied by MPs.

The House of Commons Commission – usually chaired by Speaker John Bercow – agreed that an independent expert should lead the investigation.

Mr Bercow, who has faced allegations he undermined and shouted at a senior member of staff, did not take part in the decision on launching the inquiry.

Commons Speaker John Bercow, who has faced claims he undermined a senior aide (Rick Findler/PA)
Commons Speaker John Bercow, who has faced claims he undermined a senior aide (Rick Findler/PA)

The commission agreed to a plan put forward by Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom for the independent inquiry.

A House of Commons Commission spokesman said: “At its regular meeting on Monday, March 19, the House of Commons Commission considered a proposal from the Leader of the House to hold an independent inquiry into the bullying of House staff.

“As previously announced, the Speaker did not join the meeting until after this discussion had taken place.

“The Commission agreed that an inquiry should be initiated immediately, and tasked its non-executive members (who are not Parliamentarians) with appointing an independent expert to lead the inquiry and with developing terms of reference in collaboration with that person.”

Ms Leadsom said she was “very pleased” with the outcome of the meeting.

The inquiry follows a report by the BBC’s Newsnight that women officials responsible for running the business of the House had been bullied.

The 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.