NATIONAL: Theresa May calls for new MP disciplinary system amid sexual harrassment claims
THE PRIME minister has called for a new system to complain about MPs' behaviour.
Theresa May has called for reform in the way MPs are disciplined amid claims of a sexual harassment culture in Parliament.
It comes after rumours have arisen that some staff have been allegedly maltreated – with national newspapers yesterday reporting claims that Tory minister Mark Garnier had asked his aide to buy sex toys.
In a letter to John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons, the prime minister said: ‘I am sure that you will share my concern at recent media reports regarding the alleged mistreatment of staff by some members of parliament. I believe it is important those who work in the House of Commons are treated properly and fairly, as would be expected in any modern workplace.’
Mrs May said that current procedures – which include a ‘24/7 external confidential phone line’, an ‘online portal’, an ‘HR advice service for MPs’ and a suggested IPSA disciplinary framework – do ‘not have the required teeth’.
Calling for reform, she said: ‘I believe we must establish a house-wide mediation service complemented by a contractually-binding grievance procedure available for all MPs irrespective of their party banner.’
She added: ‘I would be grateful if you would be able to use your office to assist me in doing all we can to ensure that the reputation of Parliament is not damaged further by allegations of impropriety.’
It is believed parliamentary rumours have come to light amid the allegations of sexual abuse surrounding Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.