Commons Speaker John Bercow called me an anti-Semite, says ex-Lords official
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Commons Speaker John Bercow called me an anti-Semite, says ex-Lords official

Former 'Black Rod' figure David Leakey says he was accused of being anti-Semitic during talks about seating arrangements, amid wider bullying claims directed at the Speaker

John Bercow,

Photo credit: Rick Findler/PA Wire
John Bercow, Photo credit: Rick Findler/PA Wire

A former senior official at the Houses of Parliament claims the Commons Speaker accused him of being an anti-Semite during talks over seating arrangements.

John Bercow created a “climate of intimidation and fear” among MPs and officials, according to David Leakey.

Mr Leakey, who retired in 2017 after seven years as Black Rod, said discussions over a seating plan for a high-profile visitor to Parliament ended with the “red mist” descending on the Speaker.

He told BBC Two’s Newsnight: “He just took complete exception to what was being proposed and discussed and the red mist descended and he banged the table and yelled and was highly insulting to me, personally, including calling me an anti-Semite, he’s Jewish himself I think, for which he apologised afterwards.”

Mr Leakey said it was “water off a duck’s back” to him but it was “by any definition bullying”.

He said it was difficult to remove the Speaker because it was “widely acknowledged that the Labour party obtain a considerable political benefit” from Mr Bercow’s negative treatment of the Conservative frontbench.

His comments increase the pressure on Mr Bercow, who is already facing bullying allegations from two former members of his office staff, all of which he strenuously denies.

Downing Street has said that Prime Minister Theresa May regards the allegations as “concerning” and thinks they should be properly investigated.

Mr Leakey earlier said that the issue risked bringing Parliament into disrepute unless it was rigorously investigated.

 

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