Theresa May calls for new regime to crack down on abuse in Parliament

Written by John Ashmore on 30 October 2017 in News

The Prime Minister wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons, after a series of claims about mistreatment of staff at the Palace of Westminster

Theresa May: Picture credit - PA

Theresa May has called for Parliament to get tough on abuse of staff, as reports of fresh allegations against MPs emerged.

The Prime Minister wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, after a series of claims about mistreatment of staff at the Palace of Westminster.  


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Reports this morning suggest Tory aides have a dossier of some 36 MPs - apparently including two Cabinet ministers - who have been accused of inappropriate conduct.

The claims range from having affairs with colleagues to one MP described as being "handsy with women at parties" and another who is "perpetually intoxicated and very inappropriate with women".

They include claims that Trade minister Mark Garnier made his secretary buy him sex toys and called her "sugar tits". 

He now faces a Cabinet Office investigation into whether he broke the ministerial code. 

Allies of May have said she is prepared to sack any ministers found to have crossed the line, the Sun reports.

The paper also claims Jeremy Corbyn's office has received an allegation of abuse against a sitting Labour MP. 

In her letter to Bercow, she said the current disciplinary procedure from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority "does not have the required teeth" because MPs are not obliged to follow it.

"I do not believe that the situation can be tolerated any longer. It is simply not fair on staff, many of whom are young and in their first job post-education."

She is calling for a "House-wide meditation service" backed up by a "contractually binding grievance procedure", with the new system put together on a cross-party basis.

A Labour spokesman said Jeremy Corbyn was willing to work with May and the Speaker to bring in new rules.

"There must be robust procedures inside as well as outside Parliament for dealing with abuse and harassment," he said.

"All political parties are also under an obligation to ensure their own internal procedures are robust and effective."

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