Emily Thornberry has defended Labour’s decision to nominate John Bercow for a peerage despite a fresh accusation of bullying from a former staffer.
Asked about the ex-Speaker being nominated by her party, the leadership candidate said: “I think the allegations are one thing, and I don’t know if there’s any substance to them or not. This is always the problem, isn’t it?”
Explaining that a committee will make a decision on the nomination, Thornberry stressed the existence of a tradition whereby the retiring Commons Speaker goes into the House of Lords.
“It is pretty extraordinary that the government didn’t nominate him for that,” she argued. “I think that it as right for Labour to… I think we’re doing the right thing.”
To the suggestion that the nomination is “not a good look”, Thornberry replied: “I’m an old fashioned lawyer, I don’t think allegations by themselves are ever going to be enough. I do think there has to be some substance in it.”
On Bercow’s conduct, the leadership hopeful said: “He certainly gets impatient… Whether that went into bullying, I never saw any evidence of that. I just don’t know.”
NEW: Emily Thornberry tells me John Bercow should get a peerage, despite bullying claims.
“It’s pretty extraordinary that the government didn’t nominate him… I’m an old fashioned lawyer, I don’t think allegations by themselves are ever going to be enough [to disqualify him]” pic.twitter.com/nWvARgbRrQ
— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) January 23, 2020