The Independent Expert Panel (IEP) has today published a report reprimanding John Bercow, the former Speaker of the House of Commons, for breaching Parliament’s bullying and harassment policy.
The IEP ruled that his conduct was so grave that he should not be allowed to pass to the Parliamentary estate. It also recommended that he be removed from the House if he was still a MP.
Sir Stephen Irwin, chairman of the IEP subpanel, concluded that:
“The ICGS Bullying and Harassment Policy was breached repeatedly and extensively by the most senior Member of the House of Commons. 21 allegations were made and all of them have been confirmed. The House might feel that his conduct has brought disrepute to the high office Speaker.
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“This was behaviour which had no place in any workplace. Members of staff in the House should not be expected to have to tolerate it as part of everyday life.”
The Parliamentary Commissar for Standards upheld 21 allegations made against Mr Bercow by three complainants. These were all House staff members at the time. They relate to 2009-2014. The report will be named by the complainants.
The IEP dismissed Mr Bercow’s appeals against those decisions, concluding in one case that:
“the respondent [Mr Bercow]He has repeatedly been inconsistent in his evidence and widely unreliable. He has attempted to defeat these complaints by false accusations of collusion and by advancing lies.”
Its decision on sanction said: “The findings of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, which we have upheld, show that the respondent has been a serial bully […]
His evidence, the findings of Commissioner, and his submissions show that the respondent was a serial lying liar.
His behavior was very different from what the public is entitled 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.”
The IEP hears appeals against decisions made by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (the Commissioner) in cases involving an allegation against an MP, or former MP, of bullying, harassment, or sexual misconduct under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), and also determines sanctions where such complaints are upheld, including in cases referred to it by the Commissioner.
Rt Hon John Bercow was a Member of Parliament in Buckingham between 2017 and 2019, and Speaker from June 2009 through November 2019.