Two former parliamentary staff are considering making formal complaints against John Bercow, Sky News has learnt, amid claims the former Speaker “brutalised” staff.
It comes just days after Lord Lisvane, the former clerk of the House of Commons, submitted a dossier of allegations against Mr Bercow to the Parliamentary Standards Authority.
David Leakey, the former Black Rod in the Houses of Parliament, called for complainants to come forward as he warned Mr Bercow brought one former Leader of the Commons to tears.
He told Sky News: “I’m aware that two other people are considering putting forward complaints. I appeal to anybody who has been subject to bullying to bring forward their complaints.
“In my case, he’s denied bullying me.
“In my own experience, I would call him a liar. It’s simply not true. And I’m sure there are plenty of witnesses to that as well. So I’m sure there will be other people coming forward.”
Commenting on whether it would be right for Mr Bercow to be handed a peerage following his departure from the Commons, Mr Leakey said: “I wouldn’t want to make any direct comparison between the charges levelled against Harvey Weinstein in New York at the moment with the allegations made against John Bercow. They’re of a different order.
“But the film industry is no more going to recognise Harvey Weinstein for a lifetime award for his achievements in the film industry… and nor should John Bercow be given a lifetime peerage in the House of Lords.”
John Bercow has “categorically” denied ever bullying anyone.
Earlier this week he called the timing of Lord Lisvane’s complaint “curious”.
Downing Street said the claims are “very concerning” and should be “investigated thoroughly”.
Mr Leakey added: “My opinion is that he brutalised staff in the House of Commons and elsewhere, including myself in that.
“It wasn’t just those top people, it was people much further down the pecking order. And he tried to do it with others – politicians as well that went into his office.”
He said: “I’m 67 years old. I’ve worked in the military, government departments in Brussels and Whitehall and Westminster, in business, in parliament for seven years.
“I’ve never seen anybody in my entire life treat anybody as badly as John Bercow treated regularly the people around him…. Including the leaders of the house in the House of Commons.
“One in particular came to me to recount to me two episodes of meetings with John Bercow that even now almost bring tears to his eyes.”
The allegations emerged following Labour’s decision to nominate Mr Bercow for a peerage, against convention.
The government chose not to do so, breaking with tradition which dictates that all former House of Commons Speakers are elevated to the House of Lords when they leave office.
A Downing Street source said Mr Bercow was famously enthusiastic about breaking convention during his time in office.
A source close to the vetting process for new peers said they believe an investigation into Mr Bercow’s behaviour by the Commons authorities would delay or potentially prevent him from entering the House of Lords as there is a detailed approval process for new members.
Mr Bercow did not comment on Mr Leakey’s allegations, but in a statement on Thursday he said that it has “become increasingly obvious that the government has no intention of honouring the centuries-old convention that a departing Speaker is promptly elevated to the House of Lords” since his retirement.
“Indeed, it has been suggested to me that the government actively seeks to block any other attempt to nominate me for membership of the upper House,” he continued in the statement.
“I have seen in the media that Lord Lisvane is formally complaining that I bullied staff.
“For the record, I categorically deny that I have ever bullied anyone, anywhere at any time.”
Mr Bercow said Lord Lisvane, who he worked with for five years, had “ample opportunity to raise any concerns about such conduct with me” and moreover had “a duty of care to all House staff”.
“Therefore, he had not merely a right but a responsibility to act if he thought that he witnessed misconduct.”
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