LONDON – Former Speaker of the UK House of Commons John Bercow is a ‘serial bully’ who should never again be granted a pass to parliament, a normalization panel concluded on Tuesday .
The independent panel confirmed earlier findings by Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone that Bercow had intimidated members of his staff. He said he should never get a parliamentary pass, which gives lawmakers, staff and journalists access to the building, and if he was still a member of parliament he would have been expelled.
Bercow rose to international stardom during Britain’s deadly political wrangling over Brexit as he oversaw heated debates with cries of “Ou-derrrr!”
Bercow, the 157th Speaker of the House of Commons, has transformed the age-old role, whose powers include managing Commons business, overseeing votes and deciding matters of parliamentary procedure. His militant interpretation of the role and his measures to allow lawmakers to challenge government decisions have made him a hero for opponents of leaving the European Union, a villain for Brexit supporters and a thorn in the side of the conservative government.
He also angered some on the political right by declaring in 2017 that President Donald Trump should not be allowed to address Parliament, an honor granted to some of his predecessors.
Bercow stepped down in 2019 after a decade as president.
In its report, the panel said “it is for historians to judge whether the respondent succeeded in reforming the Speaker of the House of Commons”.
But he said he was ‘a serial bully’ whose behavior ‘was so serious that, had he still been an MP, we would have decided he should be expelled by resolution of the House’.
The panel confirmed 21 allegations against Bercow by three current and former Commons staffers. He said Bercow’s behavior, which included belittling staff, abusive language and, in one instance, throwing a cellphone, “has no place in any workplace.”
Bercow condemned the findings as a “travesty of justice” and said he had been subjected to a “vengeful vendetta”.
“This is a protracted, amateurish and unfair process that would not have survived five minutes of scrutiny in court,” Bercow said. “To describe what I experienced as a kangaroo court is grossly insulting to kangaroos.”
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