Female MPs outnumber men in House of Common’s sexual harassment debate

House of Commons sexual harassment debate

Female MPs attending the House of Common’s sexual harassment debate outnumber their male colleagues.

MPs gathered in the Commons on Monday as Cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom unveiled plans to offer more support for victims of misconduct, while Common’s Speaker John Bercow called for a new complaints procedure.

Leadsom told MPs that they must “put their house in order” as everyone “had the right to feel at ease” working in Parliament. She also said that they “risked bringing all our offices into disrepute.”

She confirmed that the Cabinet Office was investigating specific allegations about individuals.

Speaker Bercow reiterated the need to act quickly and called for the existing code of conduct to be changed to require members to treat all those working in Parliament with “dignity, courtesy and respect.”

He continued saying, “Make no mistake, there is a need for change.”

“For my part as speaker I am happy to do whatever I can.”

“Others must do likewise.”

The debate made an unusual change to the normally male-dominated House of Commons. According to HuffPost UK, 65 female MPs attended the debate, compared to just 56 male MPs.

The debate comes after a series of sexual harassment allegations within Parliament, including female staff naming a ‘sex-pest’ MP.

Female researchers, secretaries and aides working in Westminster have a secret WhatsApp group to name ‘sex-pest’ MPs.

The group is said to have accused politicians, MPs and cabinet members of being “very handsy” and “not safe” in taxis or lifts.

It also comes after Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has apologised for touching a female journalist’s knee.

Fallon had been named as the Cabinet minister who put his hand on the knee of journalist, Julia Hartley-Brewer, a presenter on talkRADIO, 15 years ago.

Despite Fallon’s apology, Hartley-Brewer, said she did not regard the incident as “anything other but mildly amusing.”

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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