Former staffer makes John Bercow sound a bit like Gordon Brown
Watch: Angus Sinclair said a mobile phone was 'flung on the desk in front of me and broke into a lot of bits'.
In the latest edition of The House magazine, Betty Boothroyd says it is “courtesy” for Speakers to stand down from the job midway through a parliament.
One person who must agree with the legendary former Speaker - at least as far as the current postholder is concerned - is John Bercow’s former private secretary Angus Sinclair.
In an explosive interview with Newsnight, Sinclair says he was paid £86,250 in 2010 as part of a deal that required him to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Breaching the terms of that NDA he has spoken out about life under Bercow - making the Speaker sound not unlike epic phone thrower Gordon Brown in his heyday*.
“I was working at my desk and he came in and was absolutely furious about something… There was a lot of bad language and suddenly his mobile phone which he’d been holding was flung on the desk in front of me and broke into a lot of bits.”
Bercow denies bullying with a spokesman saying there is “no substance to any of the allegations" and that five of his staff have "worked for him very happily for a combined total of over 40 years".
Nevertheless the allegations have given fresh impetus to Bercow’s enemies such as Tory MP Andrew Bridgen who cropped up on the Today programme to twist the knife.
But at least one Labour MP is standing squarely behind the Speaker. Barry Sheerman stated on Twitter: “A disgrace to have Andrew Bridgen on @BBCr4today with no balance from those of us who know John Bercow to [be] best reforming Speaker in 100 years!”
*One Labour MP told the Evening Standard in 2008 that Brown "recently got through three mobile phones in one week by hurling against the wall in anger", while the Mail on Sunday once reported that Brown had upset his driver by picking up his phone and hurling it across the car.