Parliament introducing bullying rule-change that would make Bercow's guilty verdict impossible – Commons staff outraged
Incidents of alleged bullying that occurred more than a year ago will no longer be investigated after the rule takes effect
Parliament has announced a new rule that means their staff will not be able to raise complaints about incidents of alleged bullying that occurred more than a year ago.
The new system would invalidate the complaints of verbal and physical abuse that led to yesterday's suspension of former House of Commons Speaker John Bercow.
At present, the Independent Complaints and Grievance System (ICGS) is open for all historic claims of bullying against anyone who works in Westminster, which allowed Bercow’s inquiry to take place.
The complaints made against Bercow, now branded a “serial bully”, were related to events that took place over five years ago.
They involved violent outburst towards staff, including one incident where he threw a mobile phone so it shattered over a secretary.
The rule-change needs to be revisited, trade unions and Commons staff have said.
“It can take victims differing lengths of time to process events especially when complaining about people in positions of power,” Jenny Symmons, Senior Parliamentary Researcher, told Politico.
She added: “These events can be intensely traumatic for victims.
"To face the pressure of having to report within a year when it may take far longer to process what’s happened is not reasonable.”
Lord Lisvane, who made 18 allegations of bullying and/or harassment against Mr Bercow said he could not advise the Commons, but was “very glad that there was the opportunity to deal with this particular pattern and lengthy chapter of serious misbehaviour".
Sexual misconduct allegations are not included in the new rule and will not be subject to any time limit.
A House of Commons spokesperson said: "Parliament’s Behaviour Code makes clear the standards of behaviour expected of everyone in Parliament, whether staff, members of the House of Lords, MPs or visitors. There is zero tolerance for abuse or harassment. The Behaviour Code is supported by the Independent Complaints and Grievances Scheme (ICGS), which provides for the investigation of complaints of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct."