Ruth Davidson: the 'dam has broken' on sexual misconduct

Written by Liz Bates, Liam Kirkaldy and Jenni Davidson on 3 November 2017 in News

The Scottish Conservative leader some “pretty big shovels” would be needed for the clearout

Ruth Davidson at the Conservative conference - Image credit: PA Images

Ruth Davidson has said the “dam has broken” and it is time to clean up politics in the wake of the Westminster sex abuse scandal. 

Speaking after the resignation of Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, the Scottish Conservative leader said the “boys’ locker room culture” in politics had to stop.  

Davidson told the audience at the Spectator’s Politician of the Year awards: “Just because we have a woman in No 10, at the top of the tree in Plaid Cymru, in the Scottish Conservatives, in the SNP, in the DUP, doesn’t mean that sexism and misogyny are somehow resigned to the dustbin of history when it comes to politics.

“Nor when we look at some of the house-clearing that is going to – and needs to – happen in the next few weeks and years ahead, are we going to say we don't need some pretty big shovels for the ageing stable.”


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Asked by the BBC’s Today programme what should be done in the wake of numerous allegations of abuse and harassment by MPs, she said: “The dam has broken on this now and these overwhelmingly male-dominated professions where the boys’ locker room culture has prevailed and it’s all been a bit of a laugh has got to stop.”

Davidson also mooted the creation of a new code of conduct for those in political life to deal with the “grey area” between illegal abuse and professional misconduct.

She said people should “have a duty to hold themselves and the organisations which they work for,” to “a transparent set of rules to which everyone must be held.” 

The resignation of Michael Fallon is just the latest revelation in an ongoing scandal which has cast doubt of the conduct of some MPs and other political figures over recent days and plunged Westminster into turmoil.

Meanwhile in Scotland, a former Scottish Conservative candidate has been suspended from the party after being accused of sexual assault.

Stuart Cullen, the Scottish Tory candidate for Glasgow North in June’s snap general election, is alleged to have sexually assaulted a woman while studying at Oxford University – an accusation he strongly denies.

The party suspended Cullen, who works in private equity, immediately after the claims emerged.

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “We take allegations like these extremely seriously.

“Mr Cullen has been suspended with immediate effect, subject to further inquiry.”

“We would encourage anyone to report such allegations to the police.”

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