Labour calls for ‘zero tolerance’ approach to alleged harassment by MPs

LABOUR has called for a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to alleged harassment by MPs.

By Tom Cotterill
Sunday, 24th April 2022, 11:47 am
UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor Handout photo issued by UK Parliament of Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner in the House of Commons, Westminster, Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire
UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor Handout photo issued by UK Parliament of Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner in the House of Commons, Westminster, Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire

It comes after The Sunday Times reported that three Conservative cabinet ministers and two Labour shadow cabinet ministers are facing allegations of sexual misconduct after being reported to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).

Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden said: ‘On the face of it, those look like concerning allegations.

‘But I think you would expect that due process should happen and that the investigation should be conducted. I personally know absolutely nothing about it, and you wouldn’t expect me to, that would be a matter for House authorities.’

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Asked on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme if Westminster is a safe place to be a woman, Mr Dowden said: ‘Yes, I do think it’s a safe place to be a woman.

‘I think actually we’ve made big improvements over the past 20 or 30 years. Some of the things that happened, I’m sure, when you were a young reporter and when I started out in Westminster certainly wouldn’t happen now, and I think that’s something that has improved very much for the better.’

Labour’s shadow economic secretary to the treasury Tulip Siddiq said there needed to be a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to alleged harassment by MPs.

She told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: ‘I’m also very upset about these allegations, that there is more stories coming out of MPs abusing their position for sexual favours or to manipulate staff or all the accusations that are coming out.

‘I don’t care which party the MPs are from, there has to be an independent review, there has to be an independent panel that looks into this.

‘If there are people from my party, there should be a zero tolerance to this. If there are people from Government, there should be a zero tolerance.

‘We have to make Westminster more welcoming for female MPs but also staff members as well.’

The Sunday Times reported that the three members of Boris Johnson’s team and two from Sir Keir Starmer’s are facing allegations of sexual misconduct.

They are among 56 MPs who have been referred to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) in relation to about 70 separate complaints, it reported.

The allegations among the 56 range from making sexually inappropriate comments to more serious wrongdoing, the paper said, with at least one complaint believed to involve criminality and an allegation than an MP ‘bribed a member of staff in return for sexual favours’.