John Bercow's conduct 'sometimes feels like bullying'

media captionJohn Bercow's most memorable moments as Speaker of the House

Conduct of outgoing Commons speaker John Bercow that "sometimes feels like bullying" has been questioned by a contender to replace him.

Labour MP Chris Bryant says he "hates it when the speaker tells somebody off in really robust and aggressive terms" during parliamentary debates.

"It is absolutely devastating for the individual MP and sometimes it just feels like bullying," Mr Bryant said.

Mr Bercow, who is quitting after 10 years, has been asked to comment.

Mr Bryant, who was deputy leader of the Commons for just under in year in Gordon Brown's Labour government, says he feels "robust and aggressive" conduct is "a really bad message for parliament to send out".

Mr Bercow is to step down on 31 October but has faced criticism from Brexit supporters, who have questioned his impartiality on the issue of exiting the EU and claim he has facilitated efforts by MPs opposed to a no-deal exit to take control of Commons business.

The 56-year-old former Conservative MP has also been criticised for not doing more to tackle allegations of bullying and harassment in the House of Commons.

image captionChris Bryant has represented Rhondda in Parliament since 2001

Mr Bercow himself has been accused of mistreating several members of his own staff, which he denies.

Two Labour MPs Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the current deputy speaker, and Harriet Harman, the Mother of the House and the longest continuously-serving female MP, are the favourites to succeed Mr Bercow.

Mr Bryant, who has been Rhondda MP for 18 years, says he has cross-party support and feels the next speaker needs to "speak less from the chair".

"It feels that everyone has been tearing up the rulebook," the 57-year-old told BBC Radio Wales.

"The government having a prorogation that goes on for five weeks and suspending parliament and John Bercow being, at the least, imaginative in what has been allowed to happen in the chamber.

"But at this particular moment we need somebody who completely independent and I think we need a speaker that speaks less from the chair. Somebody who is an umpire, not a player."

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