POLITICS
05/02/2020 10:40 GMT | Updated 05/02/2020 14:35 GMT

John Bercow Peerage A 'Scandal' After 'Red Mist' Bullying Claims, Says Ex-Black Rod

David Leakey, who served as the senior Commons official, claims Bercow would be "jumping up and down".

It would be “a scandal that parliament would struggle to live down” if John Bercow was made a member of the House of Lords, a former senior parliamentary official has warned.

David Leakey served as the Black Rod – meaning he was formally in charge of the day to day running of the House of Lords – until 2018. He has repeated allegations that the former speaker was a bully.

Bercow, who has been nominated for a peerage by Jeremy Corbyn, has dismissed as “total and utter rubbish” claims he bullied parliamentary staff.

But Leakey told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday morning that there were times Bercow “would fly into a rage” and “the red mist would descend”.

“He would be jumping up and down and balling out, and shouting insults,” he said.

“He called me an anti-Semite once after being rather rude and insulting about my background, education and military career.”

He added: “I think that if John Bercow was given a peerage it would be a scandal that parliament would struggle to live down.”

Leakey said last month that he would submit a dossier to the parliamentary commissioner for standards outlining the behaviour of the of former speaker.

Bercow told Sky News last night the allegations against him were “total and utter rubbish – from start to finish”.

“What we have got here is somebody who left the House, who is thrashing about, desperate to remain relevant, popping up at every turn, trying to make himself seem very important, very centre stage, very at the heart of things in the way that I went about my work,” he said of Leakey.

PA Wire/PA Images

But Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, dismissed the idea Leakey, a former soldier, could be bullied. In a tweet she later deleted, Abbott said:

“Allegations come from former parliamentary official David Leakey. He had been a Lieutenant General who served in Germany, Northern Ireland and Bosnia. But claims he was bulled (i.e intimidated and coerced by John Bercow. Unlikely.”

A spokesman for Corbyn said: “If Diane deleted her tweet that probably indicates that she had concerns that it might be misinterpreted and so she probably thought better of it.

“As a matter of course, all allegations of bullying and harassment should always be taken seriously and investigated. I’m sure Diane agrees with that.

“Diane is responsible for her own statements. Diane should speak for herself.”

 Bercow has also been accused of bullying by Lord Lisvane, who was clerk of the House.

Lindsay Hoyle, who replaced Bercow as speaker, last week said parliament’s “bullying culture is over” as he called for a kinder Commons.

“I’m certainly not going to tolerate people who abuse security staff who are carrying out their duties to make us safe,” he told reporters at a Westminster lunch.