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Former Black Rod stands by bullying allegations against John Bercow, who would 'jump up and down with rage'

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

John Bercow would “fly into a rage” with staff members, according to a former official who said he stood by bullying claims against the retired Speaker.

David Leakey, who served as Black Rod until 2018, insisted that Bercow had "brutalised" staff, after the former Speaker dismissed the claims as "total and utter rubbish".

Fresh claims of bullying have surfaced against Bercow as he seeks the peerage usually bestowed upon retired Speakers, which he accuses the government of blocking.

But Lt Gen Leakey said granting Bercow a peerage would be a "scandal that Parliament would struggle to live down”, and said he would hand dossiers to the parliamentary commissioner for standards detailing allegations.

Speaker John Bercow has been accused of bullying Commons staff. (PA/Getty)
Former Black Rod David Leakey stood by his claims against John Bercow. (PA)

"[Bercow] would fly into a rage, the red mist would descend," Lt Gen Leakey told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday.

"And he would be jumping up and down and bawling out, and shouting insults.

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

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"I think that if John Bercow was given a peerage it would be a scandal that Parliament would struggle to live down.”

Bercow had earlier dismissed Lt Gen Leakey's allegations as "total and utter rubbish”.

He told Sky News: "He is in absolutely no position whatsoever to comment on my relations with my parliamentary colleagues, of which he is completely and utterly ignorant.

Fresh claims of bullying have surfaced against John Bercow as he seeks a peerage. (AP)
The former speaker dismissed Lt Gen Leakey's allegations as 'total and utter rubbish'. (PA)

"He doesn't know what my relations were with my clerks. He has absolutely no intelligence on those matters whatsoever.

"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.”

Bercow left the Speaker's chair on 31 October and has been replaced by Sir Lindsay Hoyle.