Thursday, May 30

Theresa May Concerned Over Claims MPs Bullied Commons Staff



Theresa May is concerned over reports of bullying of Commons staff by MPs including Speaker John Bercow, a Downing Street spokesman said today.

But the PM has confidence in Bercow who has denied any wrongdoing to continue in his role, despite a BBC Newsnight report which claimed one female clerk suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after working for him.

The report from Newsnight is concerning, the spokesman said.

The prime minister is clear there can be no place for bullying or harassment of any kind in Westminster.

Everybody should be free to work in an environment that is safe and respectful. Any complaints that are made should be fully investigated.

Kate Emms was appointed as the Speaker’s private secretary in mid 2010. She was signed off sick in early 2011, before resuming work in a new post elsewhere in Parliament in May 2011. She now works in the Cabinet Office.

His spokesperson said: The Speaker completely and utterly refutes the allegation that he behaved in such a manner, either eight years ago, or at any other time. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply untrue.

Labour MP Paul Farrelly and Tory MP Mark Pritchard were also among several MPs accused of bullying behaviour towards House of Commons service staff, known as clerks.

Asked if May had confidence in the current complaints procedure, her spokesman said: The Prime Minister led a drive to secure a cross party agreement on establishing an independent complaints agreement policy, which will explicitly examine complaints of bullying as well as sexual harassment.

The aim is for further work to be undertaken so that employees of the two houses can be included in these new arrangements.

Labour’s Jess Phillips and Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said on Friday that more must be done to tackle an inherent bullying culture which would be unacceptable in any other workplace.