The Sun has run as an exclusive today that John Bercow’s bullying of Robert Rogers – which the former Clerk of the Commons reported earlier in the week – was so bad his health collapsed and he was forced to take early retirement. Certainly tallies with his bullying of his secretary Kate Emms which resulted in her being diagnosed with PTSD…
“A friend told The Sun: “Bercow told Robert he was no good, he was useless, he was f***ing this and f***ing that, all of the time.
“He tried to make him feel completely worthless, without ever making any specific allegations of what he was supposed to have done wrong.
“The clerks used to call it Bercow’s ‘carpet chewing’.”
While Lord Lisvane has only just come forward with the allegations, the truth about their relationship has been swirling around Westminster for over half a decade. In 2015, Michael Cockerell documented their relationship when, after retiring early for undisclosed reasons, Bercow abandoned the tradition of hosting a retirement do for Rogers. Choosing instead to host a rock concert in Speaker’s House…
Michael Fabricant appeared on the Matt Forde podcast in 2014, once again refusing to give away the reason for Rogers’s early retirement, tipping off a journalist present that the true reason might be something he wanted to pursue and noting the cause wasn’t something the clerk himself had done.
Westminster knew this was going on, yet it took Bercow’s retirement to really get it out in the open; showing just how terrified Commons employees were of him. Now the Labour party – supposedly the party of workers’ rights – want to give him a peerage…
Back in 2014 John Bercow was the subject of a formal complaint about his behaviour, told one senior Commons employee to “f**k off” and subjected Commons staff to regular “temper tantrums”. At the time Guido reported how Bercow told the respected Clerk of the House Sir Robert Rogers to “f**k off” at a meeting, with Rogers ultimately taking the decision to leave his post after just two and a half years.
“It’s been very gruelling for him,” said one with a view of the action over the period. “Temper tantrums and childish behaviour every Monday morning. I’m not surprised he’s going, it’s exhausted him.
Another witness said: “I wouldn’t speak to a dog in the way Bercow spoke to X (a senior member of the hierarchy).”
Worth reading this from Michael Fabricant on the Rogers incident:
A well-known public figure, a distinguished lawyer and knight of the realm, said he was astonished to have witnessed an unprovoked outburst by the Speaker. He had gone to the Speaker’s official apartments at Westminster for a meeting with Mr Bercow when Sir Robert popped his cheery face round the door.
According to my dinner party companion, Mr Bercow shouted at Sir Robert: ‘Can’t you see I haven’t finished – just **** off!’
I asked my dinner companion if he was absolutely certain of this and he said, yes, it definitely happened and that he had been shocked by the language and the way he had humiliated the Clerk in front of outsiders, making a bad deal even worse.
At the time Guido wrote of Bercow’s anti-bullying hotline: “It’ll be interesting to see how many complaints it gets from the Speaker’s behaviour”. Last night Newsnight revealed Bercow’s behaviour towards his private secretary Kate Emms forced her out of the job. A Whitehall source tells Guido: “Kate is one of the most respected and trusted civil servants in the Cabinet Office. She is completely unimpeachable and not a flake”. Remember she was signed off sick after enduring Bercow – and he is essentially accusing her of lying with his denials. Level of surprise in SW1 that Bercow is a bad-tempered bully: Zero.