— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) March 8, 2018
A bombshell Newsnight investigation has accused John Bercow of bullying his female private secretary. Witnesses said they saw the Speaker shouting at and undermining Kate Emms, who was signed off with post-traumatic stress disorder and had to take another job elsewhere. Bercow even had Emms painted out of his official portrait. He denies the allegations. MPs Mark Pritchard and Paul Farrelly are also accused of bullying – Jo Swinson has already called on all three to face an independent investigation. In October last year Bercow told the Commons: “There must be zero tolerance of sexual harassment or bullying here at Westminster or elsewhere”. Could this finally be what does for the Speaker?
UPDATE: A Commons source says Bercow has been consulting lawyers over bullying allegations for several weeks.
Westminster is awash with speculation as to what caused the once hardline Eurosceptic Mark Pritchard to sell out and back Remain. Pritchard used to describe himself as a “mainstream Eurosceptic”, was a prominent member of the “81 group” of Tory EU rebels and even considered defecting to UKIP. Yet this week he turned turncoat and told the Sunday Times he is a “reluctant inner“. Tory MPs are mockingly referring to Pritchard as “Sir Mark”. Others unkindly suggest the international man of mystery has been promised a junior ministerial gig, though Pritch says he made his mind up a year ago. To say his colleagues are unimpressed with his defection to the Remain campaign would be an understatement…
Mark Pritchard has refused to comment on speculation that he had tried to recruit the woman who accused him of rape to the British security services. “I do not discuss matters relating to our intelligence agencies,” Pritchard said in a curt statement as Guido reported the chatter in yesterday’s Sun. The 48 year-old single Tory sits on Parliament’s Joint Committee for National Security Strategy and that is not a denial…
He says he was in a “full and consenting relationship” with the accuser.
“Insufficient evidence”. Investigation dropped, no further action…
MEDIA ALERT: I will be giving a statement outside of St Stephen's Entrance at 10.40am this morning concerning the allegation made against me
— Mark Pritchard (@MPritchardMP) January 6, 2015
The Speaker released the news…
UPDATE II: Met letter to Speaker (via Sophy Ridge):
“I write to inform you that on 2nd December 2014, Mark Pritchard MP was arrested at 6.14pm at Holborn Police Station in London by MPS officers. Mr Pritchard was questioned by police and released on bail later the same evening at 10.16pm. The matter is subject to further investigation and is sub judice at the present time.”
“We can confirm that a 48-yr-old man voluntarily attended a north London police station on Tuesday 2 December where he was arrested following an allegation of rape in central London. He has been bailed to a date in early January 2015.”
"You're not fucking royalty, Mr Speaker!" Mark Pritchard once said. Speaker put news of his arrest into the public domain.
— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) December 4, 2014