Speaker John Bercow should quit, says Maria Miller after Commons bullying report

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Speaker John Bercow should resign following the House of Commons bullying report, the chairwoman of the Women and Equalities Committee has said.

Maria Miller said Dame Laura Cox’s inquiry showed “bullying and harassment is coming right from the top” and that Mr Bercow should “absolutely” resign.

Senior Labour MP and outgoing standards committee chairman Sir Kevin Barron has also called for a change of Speaker.

Mr Bercow’s office declined to comment on Mrs Miller’s remarks.

On Monday his spokeswoman said the Commons Commission, which he chairs, would meet urgently to consider a response to the “serious” report.

And the House of Commons executive board has apologised for “past failings” and said it was “committed to changing our culture”.

  • ‘Radical change’ needed over Commons bullying
  • Analysis: Dame Laura Cox’s lightning strike

The report, by former high court judge Dame Laura Cox QC, said radical changes were needed in the way cases of bullying and harassment were dealt with in the House of Commons.

It did not refer to claims of bullying against Mr Bercow, which he denies.

Writing in The Times, Sir Kevin said: “The change in culture has to come from the top, and unfortunately I no longer believe that the Speaker, John Bercow, is the correct person to provide that leadership, so he should step down.”

And speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mrs Miller said “management change” was needed, and added that there was “no option but root and branch change of management”.

But Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry told Sky News that because of Brexit, this was “absolutely not the time to be changing Speaker”, adding: “We do need to have all hands at the deck at the moment.”

“People I know and respect say he’s a fine Speaker,” she said.

“He has been responsible for introducing a lot of reforms so long in coming, they are very much to his credit.”

Dame Laura, a former high court judge, was appointed in March after a Newsnight investigation uncovered complaints about a number of MPs, including Mr Bercow – allegations which he denies.

On Monday Dame Laura told the BBC Mr Bercow and other people in positions of leadership, such as the clerk of the House of Commons and the director general of the House of Commons, should read the report “very carefully”.

Senior figures, she said, needed to ask themselves “do I understand that radical change is needed, can I deliver that and will the staff have confidence that I can deliver that change?

“If they can’t answer ‘yes’ honestly to those questions they should each of them be considering their position.”

‘Learn lessons’

In her report, she described the House of Commons as a “stark reminder of how bad things used to be” and said there was a culture of “deference, subservience, acquiescence and silence”.

A spokeswoman for Mr Bercow said it was “a serious report into a serious subject which deserves a serious response”.

She added: “The House of Commons Commission will meet as a matter of urgency in the coming days to consider the report and our response to it.”

A separate “review of of historical allegations” is also under way, and in July MPs backed a new grievance procedure and behaviour code.

The House of Commons executive board said the report made “difficult reading” and added that there was no place for bullying and harassment.

It said it was “determined to learn lessons” from the report, adding that it will meet on 22 October to consider the findings.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

BBC News – UK Politics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WP Robot

Scroll Up