John Bercow has spent half his Speakership boasting about how he was going to improve working conditions for women in parliament. Now the very women Bercow’s PR drive claimed he was defending want him to step aside over his bullying of female staff.
A cross-party group of senior female MPs is calling for him to suspend himself from his duties while he is investigated. Caroline Lucas is tabling an Urgent Question in the Commons today, she says: “I think at the very least he should withdraw from that decision and that the three deputy speakers might judge on that. There might also be a case for stepping back temporarily if an investigation is carried out”.
Jess Phillips, previously a Bercow fan, says: “clearly there has to be some kind of independent investigation. And it may be that he should consider stepping back until that has taken place”.
The Sunday Times reported Harriet Harman is considering moving against Bercow. It is significant that the anger against the Speaker isn’t just coming from the Duddrigde / Bridgen crowd – these are female MPs and Labour MPs on whom Bercow has previously relied on for support who now want him to step aside. Will Bercow listen to the women he claimed he would use his Speakership to protect?