Johnson Blocks Peerage of Remainer Bercow

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has blocked former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s recommendation of John Bercow for a peerage due to outstanding allegations the Remain-backing former speaker had bullied Commons staff.

Jeremy Corbyn’s commitment to abolishing the “undemocratic” House of Lords has not prevented him from making proposals for peers. One notable elevation was that of Shami Chakrabarti in 2016 after she conducted a report clearing Labour of institutional antisemitism, a finding that Jewish groups labelled a “whitewash”.

The socialist’s latest controversial recommendation was that of notionally Conservative John Bercow, the anti-Brexit former speaker who left his role under a cloud of accusations that he had bullied Commons staff.

Mr Johnson’s decision came on the recommendation of the House of Lords Appointments Commission which said it could not follow through on the appointment of Mr Bercow and Corbyn’s former Chief of Staff Karie Murphy until investigations into their “propriety” clear them, according to The Sunday Times.

Ms Murphy is named in a submission to the Equality and Human Rights Commission which is conducting an investigation into institutional antisemitism in the Labour Party. The Jewish Labour Movement had called her nomination “deeply inappropriate”. Mr Bercow was referred to the parliamentary standards committee in January. Both Bercow and Murphy deny any allegations against them.

A spokesman for the appointments commission said: “Our guidelines make clear that an individual must be in good standing in general and with the public regulatory authorities in particular.

“If, after carrying out its checks, the commission thinks it may be unable to support a nominee, the relevant party will be given one more opportunity before the commission advises the prime minister to substitute another nominee for vetting.”

Prime Minister Johnson broke with parliamentary tradition by refusing to recommend Mr Bercow — formerly a member of his own party before officially resigning political loyalty when becoming the speaker — for a peerage himself. Mr Corbyn nominated the anti-Trump former speaker in the dissolution honours list, instead.

In January, Breitbart London reported that Downing Street might block Bercow’s nomination for a peerage. Almost immediately after leaving his role, Mr Bercow had branded Brexit “the biggest foreign policy mistake in the post-war period”, later to admit that he “facilitated” stopping a clean-break Brexit.

Former Black Rod David Leakey had described in October 2019 parliament’s failure to deal with accusations of bullying by Bercow as an “establishment stitch-up”.


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