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by John Johnston
10 February 2020
John Bercow claims there is a 'blindingly obvious'conspiracy against giving him a peerage


John Bercow claims there is a 'blindingly obvious'conspiracy against giving him a peerage

John Bercow has claimed that a government "conspiracy" is blocking his chances of entering the House of Lords.

The former Commons Speaker said it was "blindingly obvious" that bullying claims made against him were being used as a way of preventing him from getting a peerage.

Bercow has faced a wave of fresh allegations from former staff that he mistreated them during his time in the Commons chair, all of which he strenuously denies.

Speaking to the BBC, Bercow hit out at the accusations put forward by former Black Rod David Leakey, branding him a "marginal figure" and a "bit-part player".

"Almost eight or nine years later he is still moaning about the fact that we argued," he said. "He was, from my point of view, a very marginal figure. He was a bit-part player in my day-to-day existence."

Leakey, alongside former House clerk Lord Lisvane, and Bercow's ex-private secretary Angus Sinclair, have all reported the former Speaker to Parliament's standards watchdog in recent weeks.

Bercow has strenuosly denied the accusations against him, saying the complaints are part of a concerted effort to block him from getting a peerage.

Downing Street had refused to comply with the tradition of elevating the former Speaker to the Lords following repeated clashes on Brexit during his decade in the role.

Instead, outgoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn proposed Bercow for the role in his dissolution honours list.

But asked on Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme whether the accusations had destroyed his chances of getting his peerage, he replied: "I didn't say that. You asked me whether there was a concerted campaign, whether there was a conspiracy, whether there was an organised effort and I said it is blindingly obvious that that is so."

It comes after Labour's Shadow Women and Equalities minister, Dawn Butler, accused Number 10 of "bullying" by failing to follow protocol to put Bercow into the House of Lords.

Speaking to Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, she said: "I think it is the norm that the Speaker of the House is always given a peerage so I think the question is why hasn't he been given a peerage.

"I would like to know what is the reason why he wasn't given a peerage. I suspect it is actually to do with Brexit rather than anything else."

Butler, who is running for her party's deputy leadership, added: "I am a trade union activist; I am very forceful in terms of making sure that due process is followed so if John Bercow has been accused of bullying then there needs to be due process and has he been found guilty or is it just an accusation?

"I think those are the things that we have to go through but we really do need to ask why is it that you haven't, like everybody else, ensured that the Speaker of the House is given a peerage.

"I think that's a form of bullying too."

Read the most recent article written by John Johnston - David Cameron denies Greensill lobbying was motivated by financial self-interest

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