Former municipal spokesman John Bercow described parliamentary staff members who claim to have been bullied as “snobs and bigots” and claimed to be the victim of a concerted campaign to destroy his reputation.
In a conversation with Owen Jones at a Guardian Live event in Sloane Square in central London, he mocked those who complained about him and denied all the allegations surrounding his behavior.
The former Conservative MP said: “I was amazed when these allegations first surfaced on Newsnight almost two years ago and for the majority of the two years I had to endure that this problem had been armed against me.”
Robert Rogers, who was employed by the Commons for three years during Bercow’s tenure before becoming a pitfall colleague in 2014 as Lord Lisvane, filed a formal complaint about the former President of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
Lt. David Leakey also formally complained, as did his former private secretary Angus Sinclair, 67, who relayed bullying information to an independent bullying and harassment service for current and former House of Commons staff.
Bercow said at the event: “More recently it is very obvious that there is a concerted and orchestrated campaign to assassinate my character.”
He said staff members worked closely with him for a decade and had a number of loyal employees, which he said ran counter to the narrative of what he called the “snob and bigoted faction”.
He said: “One feature that so far many detractors have in common and that they are now becoming public, informing, smearing, trying to use the media to prosecute the case against me … is that they are institutionalized. They are resistant to change and are people who have long been accustomed not only to having their say, but to making their way. “
He said they were reacting to the fact that “this guy, to whom they considered themselves much superior, [who said] “No, it will be done differently” frustrated them. “
In a swift voice, he made an impression from a staff, saying, “It would be discouraged, Mr Speaker … I absolutely cannot praise that motion for you.”
He also said he was sponsored by some staff members, adding: “I don’t apologize for fighting my corner. But the idea that I was some kind of wild bull … has no credibility. “
He said that one of the complainants never worked closely with him and clashed with him in 2011 and 2013 during the ceremonial visits, adding: “This is a boy who has attached enormous weight to his status.”
He said he “swelled” and “wandered through studies” and gave the impression of being at the center of the Municipalities. “The boy is full of fanaticism and prejudice.”
Bercow was not named for an equal by the Tories after stopping in the fall after a decade on the President’s chair.
He said he “cared” that the decision had been made against him and broke the previous one.
Bercow suggested that without the former speaker convention sent to the Lords, the future occupants of the role would have looked over their shoulder wondering if they had “cheated the government.”