May was warned about ‘sex p est’ Tory MPs six months ago
BRITISH Prime Minister Theresa May and parliamentary authorities were warned six months ago that more needed to be done to protect MPs’ staff against abuse.
An official report published in March recommended creating an independent human resources service for staff after hearing warnings from witnesses that MPs were getting away with inappropriate behaviour “time and again”.
The fact that the report does not appear to have been acted on is likely to raise questions over why warnings were not heeded as a Westminster harassment scandal continues to grow. It came as Mrs May’s official spokesman refused to say whether she is “confident” that members of her cabinet have not committed sexual “misdemeanours”. Mrs May’s spokesman denied that she had been shown a dossier by her whips detailing allegations of sexual harassment by ministers and MPs. However, the spokesman refused to deny that she had spoken about specific allegations of sexual harassment with her whips.
The House of Commons Administration Committee recommended in its report earlier this year that “members’ staff should be able to access support on day-to-day HR matters independent of their Member… and independent advice on handling employment issues before they can escalate to full grievances”.
It also called for the authorities to “explore the development of a centralised HR support service for Members’ staff, which could be funded jointly by the House and the parties”.
The recommendations were made after Georgina Kester, the chairwoman of the Members’ and Peers’ Staff Association (Mapsa) gave oral evidence to the committee in November which warned of the issues faced by some staff.
Mrs May is understood to be prepared to sack cabinet ministers if they are proven to be sex pests, with a growing list of MPs accused of harassment circulating in Westminster.
It has been claimed Conservative Party staff have compiled a list of 36 current Tory MPs against whom allegations of inappropriate behaviour have been made, including having affairs with junior colleagues, being “handsy” with women and using prostitutes.
Mrs May has asked the Cabinet Office to investigate the conduct of International Trade Minister Mark Garnier, who admitted sending his secretary to buy sex toys for him.
Another senior Conservative, former cabinet minister Stephen Crabb, has admitted sending “explicit” messages to a 19-year-old woman after he interviewed her for a job.
A series of lurid allegations have also surfaced involving seven other unnamed Tories, prompting fears in the Conservative Party that the government could be destabilised if the scandal grows. (© Daily Telegraph London)
British PM Theresa May