May was warned about ‘sex p est’ Tory MPs six months ago

Irish Independent - - World News - Laura Hughes

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

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