John Bercow under pressure as inquiry launched into Westminster bullying

Mr Bercow should be told that his time is up Andrew Bridgen argues

Ms Leadsom said she wanted House of Commons staff to have access to an independent complaints procedure set up past year for staff directly employed by MPs.

It comes after Mr Bercow was embroiled in a row over allegations that he bullied his former secretary Kate Emms, who was signed off work sick in.

"Reports of bullying of House staff are of huge concern to me and to honourable members right across the House". The Prime Minister is clear there can be no place for bullying or harassment of any kind in Westminster.

In a odd twist, Mr Bercow himself chaired the urgent question, which had been tabled by Green MP Caroline Lucas and had requested that a deputy speaker take his place.

Mrs Leadsom said the issue would be considered by the House of Commons commission at its next meeting and she would recommend the matter would be handled by an independent figure rather than MPs.

A Conservative MP before being elected speaker in 2009, Mr Bercow has been a champion of backbenchers and smaller parties.

She told MPs everyone should have the "same rights and protections" and be held to "the same high standards".

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James Duddridge, Conservative MP for Rochford and Southend East, meanwhile told the newspaper the Speaker's position was "untenable".

It is likely to consider whether all Commons staff should be covered by the independent grievance procedure, not just those working directly for MPs.

Several Labour MPs spoke out in Bercow's defence during the debate, including the shadow House of Commons leader, Valerie Vaz, who questioned whether any formal complaints had been received. "No one, critics or otherwise, can deny your commitment to accountability and transparency and attempts to move the house forward".

The speaker denied the allegations, which his spokesperson dismissed as untrue.

Labour's Paul Farrelly, one of the MPs mentioned in the report, said he had been the victim of "selective leaking" and "recycling" of old allegations. He called the BBC report "one-sided" and said the investigation should approach the cases in a "more balanced way".

But he admitted part of his motivation was down to his views on Brexit - and a feeling that the Speaker "trumpets" his pro-EU views "from the rooftops".


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