John Bercow says he is the victim of a concerted campaign to destroy his reputation

PUBLISHED: 12:05 18 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:05 18 February 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

Former House of Commons speaker John Bercow has claimed he is a victim of a concerted campaign to destroy his reputation by those he describes as ‘snobs and bigots’.

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Speaking at a Guardian event in conversation with Owen Jones, the former Tory MP addressed claims of bullying.

He said: "I was astonished when those allegations first surfaced on Newsnight nearly two years ago and for the best part of two years I've had to put up with this issue being weaponised against me."

He added that those behind the claims were from a faction who were "snobs and bigots" and resistant to change.

He explained: "More recently it's very obvious there is a concerted and orchestrated campaign to assassinate my character."

Bercow said he had worked with a number of loyal members of staff for some time who took a contrasting view to those who had gone public about the former speaker.

He said: "One characteristic that so far several of the detractors have in common, and they are now going public, briefing, smearing, trying to use the media to prosecute the case against me ... is that they are institutionalised. They are change-resistant and they are people who are very long accustomed not just to having their say but to having their way."

In an interview with The New European the former speaker said that Remain MPs backing an early general election was one of the "saddest" days of his career.

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