Bercow Uses Personal Veto to Block Vaz Investigation

John Bercow has personally stepped in to stop a BBC investigation getting information about the behaviour of Keith Vaz. BBC Newsnight applied under the Freedom of Information Act to see papers relating to Vaz’s trips abroad, after clerks had raised concerns that he was not following parliamentary rules. In August the same programme revealed how Vaz himself had bullied former Commons clerk Jenny McCullough after she questioned his foreign trip expenses.

Bercow argued that administration of committee trips should be covered under parliamentary privilege, and then extraordinarily blocked the matter going to tribunal, using a very unusual personal power to prevent a judge reviewing his argument. Because of this, unlike normal FoI procedure, Newsnight has no means to appeal his decision…

Newsnight’s Chris Cook sums up the extraordinary situation:

“The net result is that the Speaker, who denies bullying, has made an order to hide information about the behaviour of his close personal friend, Keith Vaz, a man who also denies bullying – supposedly to protect MPs’ freedom of speech.

And then he has gone out of his way to use a personal veto to make sure no-one could even consider reviewing that questionable decision.

Bercow will continue to get away with it as long as he is protected by MPs who prioritise his anti-Brexit views over safeguarding and transparency…


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Andrea Leadsom told BBC Radio 4’s Today

“He’s made his views on Brexit on the record, and the problem with that of course is that the chair’s impartiality is absolutely essential. … He’s made his views known on Brexit… it’s a matter for him but nevertheless it’s a challenge and all colleagues need to form their own view of that.”

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