‘Liar’ Bercow banned from having Parliamentary pass after bullying claims upheld

The Independent Expert Panel said it would have recommended the former Commons speaker be expelled from the House if he were still an MP.

08 March 2022

Former Commons speaker John Bercow has been branded a “serial liar” and banned from holding a pass to Parliament after an investigation found him guilty of bullying.

Parliament’s Independent Expert Panel (IEP), which determines appeals and sanctions in cases where bullying complaints have been brought against MPs, said it would have also recommended he be expelled from the House if he were still a sitting member.

Mr Bercow called the investigation a “travesty of justice” which “brings shame on the House of Commons”.

He said he has “never applied for” a Parliamentary pass and does not want one.

The IEP said an inquiry by Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone upheld 21 allegations against Mr Bercow from three complainants, all House staff at the time, relating to the period 2009 to 2014.

Mr Bercow, who stood down as speaker in 2019 and was replaced by Sir Lindsay Hoyle, appealed against the commissioner’s findings to the IEP.

But it upheld her verdicts without exception.

In its report published on Tuesday, the panel said: “The findings of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, which we have upheld, show that the respondent has been a serial bully…

“His evidence in the investigations, the findings of the commissioner, and his submissions to us, show also that the respondent has been a serial liar.

“His behaviour fell very far below that which the public has a right to expect from any Member of Parliament.

“The respondent’s conduct was so serious that, had he still been a Member of Parliament, we would have determined that he should be expelled by resolution of the House.

“As it is, we recommend that he should never be permitted a pass to the Parliamentary estate.”

Mr Bercow said people should not “fall for the Establishment spin that I have been banned for life”.

“I can still attend debates with the help of a friendly passholder or go as a member of the public,” he added.

The former speaker said the case against him “would have been thrown out by any court in the land”, as he claimed it was “based on the flimsiest of evidence” and “rooted in hearsay and baseless rumour”.

He suggested a “vengeful vendetta” had been mounted against him.

“It is a travesty of justice and brings shame on the House of Commons,” he said.

“This has been a protracted, amateurish and unjust process which would not have survived five minutes’ scrutiny in court. To describe what I have experienced as a kangaroo court is grossly insulting to kangaroos.”

He accused Ms Stone of hiding behind parliamentary privilege to “duck scrutiny and legal challenge”.

In a statement, Ms Stone said: “I am grateful to the Independent Expert Panel for their detailed and considered report regarding the conduct of Mr Bercow.

“Their report upholding my findings demonstrates my ongoing commitment to ensuring that the investigations under my oversight, and my subsequent decisions, are independent, impartial, thorough and fair.”

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