Leaked emails have revealed John Bercow lobbied Jeremy Corbyn in an effort to secure a peerage and even wrote his own reference for his nomination.
Just a week after being snubbed by Downing Street the former Speaker of the House of Commons secretly met the then Labour leader’s team to discuss his nomination to the House of Lords. He then wrote to Mr Corbyn’s office with a self-penned reference in which he boasted of his four honorary degrees, “no fewer than five shadow ministerial roles”, a period as deputy leader of the Tory group on Lambeth council, and his experience as a tennis coach.
Mr Bercow, who frequently clashed with Theresa May and Boris Johnson over Brexit, was the first Commons Speaker not to be nominated for a peerage by the government when he stepped down in 2019. But Labour nominated him as one of a selection of prospective peers, three of whom – Bercow, Corbyn’s deputy Tom Watson, and the former Labour official Karie Murphy were all rejected over concerns over their conduct.
The revelations came after Bercow, a former Conservative MP, announced his defection to Labour on Sunday, arguing that the Tories had become “reactionary, populist, nationalistic and sometimes even xenophobic”.
In a series of media appearances over the weekend he denied having struck a deal with the opposition for a seat in the Lords. He said:
“There has been no barter, no trade, no deal whatsoever.”
The leak of these emails between Mr Bercow and Mr Corbyn’s office must now surely raise further questions about his impartiality and the closeness of his relationship with the opposition during his time in the Speaker’s chair.