John Bercow

David Leakey says John Bercow's behaviour makes him unfit for the House of Lords
Mr Leakey says parliament "would struggle to live down" giving Mr Bercow a place in the Lords.

MP criticised over claim former soldier 'unlikely to be bullied'

Diane Abbott
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Hackney MP Diane Abbott has been criticised for "ridiculous" comments suggesting it was unlikely a former general could have been bullied by John Bercow.

The shadow home secretary came to the defence of the former speaker, who has been involved in a public row with Lieutenant General David Leakey, who held the post of black rod in Parliament.

In a tweet, that has since been deleted, Ms Abbott claimed Lt Gen Leakey's extensive military service meant it was unlikely he could have been bullied by Mr Bercow.

"He had been a Lieutenant General who served in Germany, Northern Ireland and Bosnia," she said. "But claims he was bullied (i.e. intimidated and coerced) by John Bercow. Unlikely."

But Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union which represents senior civil servants, said Ms Abbott had a "complete failure to understand" the abuse of power in the workplace.

"What a ridiculous comment from an experienced MP, demonstrating blind political partisanship and a complete failure to understand how power is abused in the workplace."

Lt Gen Leakey, who served as black rod until 2018, stood by his claims that Mr Bercow "brutalised" staff after the former speaker dismissed them as "total and utter rubbish".

David Leakey and John Bercow
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