Theresa May today said it is ‘unacceptable’ for the Commons Speaker to call a senior Cabinet minister a ‘stupid woman’ and ‘f*****g useless’, if the allegations are true.
John Bercow is said to have muttered the foul-mouthed phrase about Andrea Leadsom during an angry exchange in the Commons after PMQs on Wednesday.
Mr Bercow is already facing multiple allegations of bullying his staff,, and the latest allegation has renewed calls for him to quit from the influential parliamentary role.
Commenting on the allegation today, the Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman said: ‘We have seen the alleged remarks, and clearly the Prime Minister thinks they are unacceptable, and if an official complaint is made it should be properly investigated.’
However, Sky News reports that Mrs Leadsom is not planning to make a complaint.
A witness claims he saw Mr Bercow describe Mrs Leadsom as a ‘stupid woman’ under his breath, before adding that she was ‘f***ing useless’.
John Bercow (pictured in the House of Commons) has been at the centre of allegations that he bullied staff with several claiming that he regularly lost his temper with them
A source close to Mrs Leadsom, who was made aware of the alleged remarks by colleagues, said she was ‘stunned’ by the attack, but intended to ‘rise above it’.
A spokesman for the Speaker did not deny the allegation last night, but said it had been an ‘unusual and controversial’ day on which ‘some strong and differing views were expressed on all sides’.
Mr Bercow strongly denies all of the bullying claims made against him.
As the Commons Speaker, Mr Bercow oversees debates in the Commons and is charged with keeping order. It is a very senior role and requires him to be strictly impartial.
What are the claims of bullying and bad behaviour made against John Bercow?
John Bercow has been hit by a number of bullying claims, all of which he denies. Here are the allegations:
Andrew Sinclair, the former Speaker’s Secretary:
Said he left his post in 2010 after he was subjected to angry outbursts, foul- mouthed tirades and mimicry by John Bercow.
He said was ‘gagged’ and stopped from speaking out about his time in the role as part of an £86,000 early retirement payoff.
David Leakey, former Black Rod: