Par­lia­ment pests face the axe, says Com­mons leader

Daily Mirror - - NEWS - BY BEN GLAZE Deputy Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor and MIKEY SMITH Po­lit­i­cal Re­porter VOICE OF THE MIR­ROR: PAGE 12

AC­CUS­ING The redacted spread­sheet has ap­peared on Guido Fawkes web­site MIN­IS­TERS who make staff feel un­com­fort­able face be­ing sacked un­der a clam­p­down on Par­lia­ment’s sex pests, MPs have been warned.

Theresa May backed the moves for a tough stance as the West­min­ster sex­ual ha­rass­ment scan­dal threat­ened to claim its first scalp.

In­ter­na­tional Trade Min­is­ter Mark Garnier, who ad­mit­ted call­ing his sec­re­tary “sugar t*ts” and ask­ing her to buy sex toys, was last night cling­ing on to his post.

The PM’s spokesman re­fused to say whether Mrs May had full con­fi­dence in him, in­sist­ing No10 did not want to pre-empt the Cabi­net Of­fice in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Com­mons Speaker John Ber­cow in­sisted there must be “zero tol­er­ance” of sex ha­rass­ment in Par­lia­ment.

A list of 13 MPs fac­ing al­le­ga­tions has been cir­cu­lat­ing at West­min­ster.

And the Guido Fawkes po­lit­i­cal blog claimed Tory aides had com­piled a spread­sheet of 36 Con­ser­va­tive MPs, in­clud­ing 20 min­is­ters, who are ac­cused of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour. A redacted ver­sion was posted on the Fawkes site.

An­swer­ing an ur­gent ques­tion as the cri­sis en­gulfed West­min­ster, Com­mons leader An­drea Lead­som told MPs: “I am set­ting the bar sig­nif­i­cantly be­low crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity. If peo­ple are made to feel un­com­fort­able, that is not cor­rect.

“In terms of the con­se­quence for the per­pe­tra­tors, I’ve been per­fectly clear. In the case of staff, they could for­feit their jobs. In the case of MPs, they could have the whip with­drawn and they could be fired from min­is­te­rial of­fice.”

Mrs Lead­som in­sisted ac­tion was needed “in days rather than weeks”.

Her speech came as women MPs from three par­ties high­lighted re­cent abuse and ha­rass­ment in Par­lia­ment.

Plaid Cymru’s West­min­ster leader Liz Sav­ille-Roberts re­vealed she knew of a case where a woman em­ployed by an MP “re­ported be­ing sex­u­ally as­saulted to the proper au­thor­i­ties ear­lier this year”. But the MP al­legedly, “did noth­ing”.

Re­cently-elected Tory MP Rachel Ma­clean said her re­searcher had “high­lighted some of the ex­pe­ri­ences she has had and I def­i­nitely find that shock­ing and un­ac­cept­able”.

Labour’s Chi On­wu­rah claimed ha­rass­ment com­plaints made against MPs, for ac­tions towards re­searchers in a no­to­ri­ous par­lia­men­tary drink­ing den, were dis­missed as typ­i­cal pub be­hav­iour.

Mrs Lead­som pledged a crack­down on the bar, which is pop­u­lar with Labour and Scot­tish na­tion­al­ist MPs.

It has emerged David Cameron tried in 2014 to bring in a code of con­duct to pro­tect staff from ha­rass­ment, which would have in­cluded the right to seek ar­bi­tra­tion. But the move was blocked by the 1922 Com­mit­tee of Tory back­bench MPs, who saw it as a plot by party whips to im­pose con­trol on MPs. CLING­ING ON Trade Min­is­ter Mark Garnier TOUGH STANCE An­drea Lead­som

POWER & GORY Blood-stained Spacey in the TV po­lit­i­cal drama House of Cards

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