COMMONS Speaker John Bercow faces a new scandal after a damning bullying verdict against a senior official he picked for the job.
The Sun can reveal an independent investigation has ruled Parliament’s Serjeant At Arms, Kamal El-Hajii, bullied a female deputy last year.
The Serjeant is one of the highest profile jobs in Westminster. As well as carrying the ceremonial mace he is charged with guaranteeing security in Parliament.
He won the job in 2015 – becoming the first ‘non-white’ Serjeant – and has lavished praise on Mr Bercow and attacked his critics ever since.
But now his future is hanging by a thread and the case is being seen as a test of the Commons’ commitment to stamping out a toxic culture in Westminster.
One source said: “There isn’t a person in the Commons who owes his job more to John Bercow than the Serjeant. Let’s see how serious Bercow and his team are about putting things right.” The case centres on an incident last June when Mr El-Hajii was accused of “yelling” at Fay Tennet, the Commons deputy director of security.
We feel that there is a witch-hunt going on trying to discredit Mr Speaker
The Sun can reveal an external harassment investigator – Sheelagh Douglas – has found his actions were consistent with “bullying” and breached Parliament’s code of conduct.
He also faces a second inquiry after a flood of complaints from Commons staff over a magazine article last year when he claimed they were supportive of Mr Bercow as he fended off allegations against his own behaviour.
The Speaker has vehemently denied allegations he bullied former private secretaries, Angus Sinclair and Kate Emms.
In House magazine last summer, Mr El-Hajii claimed he spoke for the majority of Commons staff when he said: “We feel that there is a witch-hunt going on trying to discredit Mr Speaker.”
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He said it had “not been very easy” since his appointment in three years ago but Mr Bercow’s backing had given him the confident to remain in the role.
“The support and guidance that Mr Speaker has showed me since I started is probably one of the main factors behind why I am still fulfilling this very prestigious role today,” he said.
A House of Commons spokesman declined to comment last night.
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