Women say par­ties not do­ing enough to end abuse

The Gulf Today - - WORLD -

LONDON: Women at the centre of the sex­ual ha­rass­ment scan­dal in West­min­ster­hav­eraised­con­cern­sthat po­lit­i­cal par­ties will not do enough to rid par­lia­ment of abuse.

Tory ac­tivist Kate Maltby, who ac­cused former cab­i­net min­is­ter Damian Green of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour, Ava Etemadzadeh, a Labour sup­porter who made al­le­ga­tions against MP Kelvin Hop­kins, and former spe­cial ad­viser Brid­get Har­ris, one of Lib Dem peer Lord Ren­nard’s ac­cusers, warned that ef­forts to tackle en­demic abuse and ha­rass­ment were un­likely to suc­ceed.

Leaked plans to bol­ster the com­plaints pro­ce­dures and toughen up dis­ci­pline were met with dis­ap­point­ment by cam­paign­ers, who said the pro­pos­als were “too vague” and left too much power with the party whips.

A cross-party work­ing group has been look­ing into the is­sue af­ter claims of sex­ual ha­rass­ment rocked West­min­ster, lead­ing to the sus­pen­sions of a string of MPS.

Maltby’s com­plaint that Green had made in­ap­pro­pri­ate ad­vance towards her trig­gered a White­hall probe, which even­tu­ally re­sulted in his res­ig­na­tion as First Sec­re­tary of State, where he was ef­fec­tively Theresa May’s deputy.

He de­nied mak­ing sex­ual ad­vances towards HER But THE CAB­I­NET OFICE in­quiry found her to be a “plau­si­ble” wit­ness, Al­though It Could not REACH irm con­clu­sions.

“I don’t have faith that the work­ing group will be given the power or the sup­port to change any­thing,” Maltby told The Guardian.

Sev­eral other women con­tacted her for ad­vice af­ter her case hit the head­lines, but Maltby said she felt pow­er­less to help.

She said: “What’s re­ally scary and some­thing I feel guilty about is that I don’t have an an­swer for them. I’m just a woman who made a com­plaint.”

Maltby said she had lost faith in the prime min­is­ter “as a woman and a leader,” adding: “I need a lot more ev­i­dence that she is going to sup­port the peo­ple in the party who do want to make a change.”

Her con­cerns were echoed by Labour ac­tivist Etemadzadeh, who ac­cused the Luton North MP of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and send­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate text mes­sages.

Labour MP Kerry Mccarthy also made a com­plaint about the con­duct of the MP, who is cur­rently un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the party. Etemadzadeh said: “I felt pow­er­less and iso­lated when I saw noth­ing was done ini­tially, and now I feel the party is try­ing to white­wash the case and only act­ing be­cause it doesn’t want to get a bad rep­u­ta­tion.”

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