Downing Street blocks peerage for John Bercow

PUBLISHED: 09:41 01 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:44 01 June 2020

John Bercow walks over Westminster Bridge on his last day as speaker of the House of Commons. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

John Bercow walks over Westminster Bridge on his last day as speaker of the House of Commons. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Newspaper reports suggest Downing Street has blocked a peerage for John Bercow after being proposed by former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

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Former Commons speaker John Bercow was nominated by Corbyn after Boris Johnson refused to put him forward.

According to a series of national newspapers Downing Street said it would not approve Labour’s nomination for the House of Lords because there are outstanding concerns about his “propriety”.

Bercow has been referred to the parliamentary commissioner of standards in January over allegations of bullying, something he strenuously denies.

But others have seen both Theresa May and Boris Johnson’s reluctance to give an honour to Bercow as revenge for his handling of Brexit in the House of Commons.


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Johnson had broken tradition by refusing to nominate Bercow for a peerage himself, which is traditional of government after a speaker’s retirement.

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The House of Lords Appointment commission said: “Our guidelines make clear that an individual must be in good standing in general and with the public regulatory authorities in particular.”

There are also claims that Karie Murphy, Corbyn’s former chief of staff, and Tom Watson, former deputy Labour leader, have also been blocked from entering the Lords.

The Independent suggested Watson was rejected for a peerage after he highlighted the claims of fantasist Carl Beech, who later went to jail, who claimed a paedophile ring had operated in Westminster.

The claims led the Metropolitan Police to conduct dawn raids on the homes of the late military chief Lord Bramall, the late Lord Brittan and former MP Harvey Proctor.

Beech is now serving an 18-year jail term for making up a string of fabricated allegations of rape, torture and murder.

In March Lord Cormack officially registered his opposition to the peerage nomination, saying “one who has abused his place in one House of Parliament should not be admitted to another”.

Murphy is involved in the current Equalities and Human Rights Commission investigation into allegations the Labour Party is institutionally antisemitic. She denies wrongdoing, but is reportedly named in submissions to the inqury alongside other senior officials.

Officials at Downing Street informed Corbyn his nominations would be rejected before he stepped down as leader, the Sunday Times reported.

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