Storm as pollsters ask MP staff whether their bosses need ‘sex consent’ training
RESPECTED pollsters ComRes were slammed for asking MPs’ staff if their bosses need special training in obtaining consent for sex.
It is one of the questions in a sexual harassment survey sent out on Friday to those who work for MPs or peers at Westminster.
Workers in constituency offices have also been contacted.
But a row blew up yesterday as staff thought the questions were an official Parliamentary survey.
ComRes chairman Andrew Hawkins, who sent the online questions, admitted: “There’s no client. We’re doing this off our own bat. We’re not stirring the pot.
“We’re trying to get at the truth. Some of the data will be published.”
But one horrified staffer said: “I assumed this was for the House. I wouldn’t have completed it if I had known. I’m really cross about it.
“And now I’m worried about how ComRes intend to use my data.”
Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour and Lib Dem counterparts Jeremy Corbyn and Vince Cable will also be furious because the study will reveal which party has the most sex abuse allegations.
Staff are told their replies will be “strictly anonymous” and Mr Hawkins warns: “This survey includes questions concerning sexual harassment.”
Employees are asked if they agree or disagree with the statement: “I would fear for my job if I reported sexual harassment by my boss.”
They are asked if they believe it to be “rife” at Westminster.
And one question asks whether they would support “making available to people working in the Commons, including MPs, training on the meaning of consent”.
The ComRes email asked staff if they feel “overworked, excited, humbled, privileged, underpaid, exploited, undervalued or happy”.
One question said: “Have you personally experienced sexual harassment in your current job?”
Another asked whether the problem “needs urgently to be tackled” and whether employment practices need changing.
The choices are the appointment of “an independent HR support person to whom staff can report abuse” or “an independent grievance process”.
This has been one of the burning issues since the sex harassment scandal began three weeks ago.
MPs are self-employed and their staff work directly for them, not the House of Commons.
A Commons spokeswoman said: “The ComRes survey was not commissioned by Parliament.”
Meanwhile, MP Andrew Bridgen has put a third complaint in to authorities about a fellow Tory – in relation to alleged behaviour before the man became an MP.