The former Parliamentary Speaker clashed with Sky News’ Sarah-Jane Mee during a tense interview after a report found John Bercow guilty of bullying, a claim he has denied. Mr Bercow has been stripped of a parliamentary pass after the independent panel found he was a “serial bully” towards Parliamentary staff during his 10 years in the Speaker’s chair.
When pressed on the finding of the report, Mr Bercow told Ms Mee: “Well, you’re just reading from the report, which of course, you’re absolutely entitled to do but what I’m saying to you…”
After the Sky News host interjected, Mr Barcow snapped: “So if you’d be kind enough to allow me to reply, I will…Thank you.”
“I feel like we are getting into passive-aggressive territory here and I don’t want to so please continue,” replied Ms Mee.
The former Speaker insisted: “No, we’re not getting into any. No, we’re not getting into any passive-aggressive territory as far as I’m concerned.”
Mr Bercow went on the question the legitimacy of witness statements included in the report as “hearsay.”
He told Sky News: “What I would say to you is very simply this hearsay, that is to say the testimony of people who were not present was preferred over the testimony of people present, an allegation was made.”
“I’m sorry, you can’t be a witness to something which you didn’t attend,” added Mr Bercow.
“And when witnesses present said no, I do not accept that allegation that did not happen, the investigators choose instead to accept testimony from people who had heard second or third hand.”
“The respondent’s conduct was so serious that, had he still been a Member of Parliament, we would have determined that he should be expelled by resolution of the House. As it is, we recommend that he should never be permitted a pass to the Parliamentary estate.”
In response, Mr Bercow said the ruling was a “travesty of justice” and that the investigation was “amateurish” that relied on “tittle-tattle and malicious gossip”.
“At the end of it, the panel has simply said that I should be denied a parliamentary pass which I have never applied for and do not want. That is the absurdity of its position,” he said in a statement.
“It is a travesty of justice and brings shame on the House of Commons.”