‘Lager Lout’ Farrelly’s History of Commons Brawls

Accused alongside Speaker John Bercow in the Commons staff bullying scandal is “lager lout” Labour MP Paul Farrelly. The rugby playing Newcastle-Under-Lyme MP has been implicated in a string of well-publicised scrapes and scraps. Last November Labour said they would investigate claims Farrelly “launched a foul-mouthed tirade” at colleague James Frith MP in one of the voting lobbies. Farrelly denied the allegations. It was claimed Farrelly was also involved in an angry confrontation with fellow Labour MPs Gareth Snell and Ruth Smeeth. A Labour spokesman said: “These are being investigated in line with the standing orders of the Parliamentary Labour Party.” What was the outcome? We’ve never heard back…

In 2010 Farrelly admitted wrestling a member of the public to the ground in a bar brawl on the parliamentary estate. He said he acted in self-defence when it was claimed he punched newspaper vendor Bjorn Hurrell above the eye in the incident outside parliament’s notorious Sports and Social bar. At the time Farrelly was a vocal critic of anti-social behaviour and claimed on his website: “Decent people should not see their lives blighted by nuisance and anti-social behaviour.”

Last night’s allegations concern Farrelly’s treatment of former clerk Emily Commander while she worked on the Culture, Media and Sport committee. An internal Commons report obtained by Newsnight shows the clerk told managers:

“I have been anxious about encountering Mr Farrelly… I have repeated nightmares about going on Committee visits with Mr Farrelly and being criticised by him for having neglected tiny details… After particularly unpleasant meetings I have lost my appetite and have on several occasions been physically sick.”

Further allegations surround a Committee trip to Italy in 2014. One participant on that trip claimed:

“He was a complete and utter bully. He wound her up like a screw and reduced her to tears. The more he upset her, the more he enjoyed it, the more he kept turning the screw. He was very aggressive. It felt like no one had the ability or authority to intervene. Everybody knew it was wrong.”

Farrelly told Newsnight: “In 2012 allegations were made about me having bullied a clerk to the Committee during the compilation of the phone hacking report. These allegations were investigated and not upheld.” If Labour are consistent they will suspend him…




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