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Great Britain

John Bercow hurled insults at aides and binned their advice over anti-Brexit bias

NO SHRED OF DECENCY

Mr Bercow most senior official attempted three times to advise him that allowing a highly controversial vote would be a breach of procedure

SPEAKER John Bercow hurled insults at aides and binned their advice when they tried to warn against anti-Brexit bias, it was claimed yesterday.

He allegedly bawled them down and declared: “I’m not interested in what a gaggle of clerks has to say.”

The astonishing clash came two hours before he ripped up the Commons rule book to allow rebel MPs the chance to frustrate Britain’s exit from the EU.

Mr Bercow most senior official attempted three times to advise him that allowing a highly controversial vote would be a breach of procedure – but he stubbornly refused to listen.

Clerk of the House Sir David Natzler raised the issue at the regular morning meeting he holds with the Speaker to discuss the day’s business.

An insider said: “When the clerk started to talk about what was coming up in the chamber, he immediately got the amendment to a government motion on how Brexit should proceed.

“He started by saying “The problem with this amendment is…” but before he could get the words out Bercow yelled ‘I don’t want to hear anything about that.’

“Sir David tried again. This time the only word he could get out was ‘but’ before the Speaker said firmly ‘I don’t want to know.’

“He then tried a different tack, asking if it would be helpful if he gave him some thoughts and he replied ‘I don’t want anything from you. I don’t want any written advice or advice of any kind at all.

I’ve made my decision and I will stick to that.’”

When the meeting broke up, the Speaker held the clerk back and he finally told him why he would be breaking centuries of precedent by allowing Tory rebel Dominic Grieve to table an amendment on a government motion.

Another source said: “He tried more than once to explain why he was wrong but the Speaker told him he was not interested in what a gaggle of clerks had to say.

“He finally managed to get part of his message across in private and handed over a note he had written from which he had quoted one or two points to help the Speaker deal with any questions he may get. But that note was taken away and destroyed.”

Furious MPs have accused Mr Bercow of trying to scupper Brexit by allowing the controversial vote against the advice of his officials.

He has turned down their requests to reveal the advice he was given by senior aides.

One Tory said: “The question has to be asked why the Speak will not publish the advice he received to when he ordered the Attorney General to make public the confidential advice he gave to the government on Brexit.”

A spokesman for the Speaker’s office said: “Any meetings the Speaker has with the clerks are private and we never divulge what was discussed.”

It also emerged that Mr Bercow secretly met Tory rebel Dominic Grieve a day before the Brexit rumpus.

The pair spoke in the Speaker’s grace-and-favour Commons residence, sparking angry accusations of a “stitch up” over the extraordinary events.

Mr Grieve refused to reveal what he had discussed with Mr Bercow but insisted: “Speakers make up their own minds.”

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