Press "Enter" to skip to content

John Bercow accused of having ‘Jekyll and Hyde character’ in bullying complaint

Another bullying complaint has been lodged against ex-Commons Speaker John Bercow, accusing him of “intolerable rudeness and explosive behaviour”.

Former Black Rod David Leakey said he was “reluctantly” filing a dossier to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in an attempt to block Mr Bercow from receiving a peerage at the House of Lords.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Lieutenant General Leakey said the former Speaker was a “Jekyll and Hyde character” who many people were “terrified” of.

Image: Lieutenant General David Leakey is filing a complaint

It follows a complaint by former Clerk of the House Lord Lisvane, who said Mr Bercow had used inappropriate language and humiliated staff.

Responding to Lord Lisvane, the former Speaker “categorically” denied all accusations of bullying.


These are the latest allegations of bullying against Mr Bercow to surface, after two former private secretaries came forward in 2018.

Lt Gen Leakey said the latest dossier would detail “allegations of bullying, intimidation and unacceptable behaviour” by Mr Bercow.

More from John Bercow Former Speaker John Bercow ‘brutalised Commons staff’, says ex-Black Rod Downing Street: John Bercow peerage from Labour would go against convention John Bercow, former Commons speaker, ‘nominated for peerage by Labour’ Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle urges PM to give John Bercow a peerage General election: John Bercow to join Sky News for election night coverage John Bercow: David Cameron thinks people like him are ‘born to rule’

He said he hoped the complaint would encourage others to “come forward to file their own complaints, finally safe in the knowledge that the new independent complaints procedure will enable their concerns to be heard and assessed”.

He continued: “Many people were, frankly, terrified of Bercow – a Jekyll and Hyde character whose furious rages were belied for many by the charm and good humour he could also deploy to such effect.

John Bercow wants a peerage

“It will also spell out my own personal experience of his volatile rages, foul language and personal insults.

“On one occasion, for example, in the presence of other people, he suddenly erupted in a rage, banging the table, and became extremely and personally insulting to me about my education, previous army career and social background, including calling me an antisemite – falsely implying I was prejudiced against his Jewish family background.”

Lt Gen Leakey added: “He did not intimidate me – I have suffered tirades from many a sergeant-major in my early days in the army – but the visible effect of such behaviour on other parliamentary staff was appalling.”

He also warned of a “macho bullying culture” which was “prominent” in Westminster.

On Friday, Mr Leakey told Sky News the former Speaker had “brutalised” staff, adding: “I’ve never seen anybody in my entire life treat anybody as badly as John Bercow treated regularly the people around him.”

He also said two more ex-parliamentary staff were considering putting forward complaints.

Image: David Leakey says Mr Bercow ‘brutalised staff’

Mr Bercow has dismissed the former complaint as having come at a “curious time” and said it had been suggested to him the government was trying to block attempts to make him a peer.

“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,” he said.

Mr Bercow was put forward for a peerage by Jeremy Corbyn after becoming the first Speaker in 230 years not to receive a nomination on stepping down.

Brexit Night Live: Watch and follow the moment Britain exits the EU with a special programme from 9pm on Friday 31 January


Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

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