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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

UK lawmakers face suspension under new plans to tackle bullying and harassment

One in five workers in UK’s parliament have experienced or seen sexual harassment, a new report reveals

Andrea Leadsom, a senior Conservative MP, led the review into sexual harassment and bullying in Westminister / AFP PHOTO / Niklas HALLE'N
Andrea Leadsom, a senior Conservative MP, led the review into sexual harassment and bullying in Westminister / AFP PHOTO / Niklas HALLE'N

British lawmakers face suspension and potential expulsion for bullying and abuse under new rules proposed following allegations of sexual harassment within the UK’s parliament.

A survey of nearly 1,400 parliamentary workers found that almost one in five had suffered or seen sexual harassment over the past year, with women targeted in the majority of cases.

The Palace of Westminster have been tarnished by accusations of sexual harassment with two senior ministers in Theresa May’s government losing their jobs following allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

A report published on Thursday by a cross-party group of MPs called for allegations of workplace harassment to be investigated by an expert independent of the political parties.

Investigations could result in suspensions, with any longer than two weeks potentially triggering a process that could see an MP removed from office, an MP on the committee, Jo Swinson, told the BBC.

Other punishments could include public apologies or mandatory training. The new process is designed to address workplace harassment with victims still free to call in police where potential crimes had been committed.

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The committee said sexual harassment had been “a feature in the lives” of many who work in Parliament.

Mrs May’s effective number two was sacked in December after he lied during an investigation about pornography found on his computer. He had been under intense pressure following complaints from a party activist that he made advances to her in 2015.

The previous month, Michael Fallon the ‘defence secretary’ quit his job after admitting that his behaviour towards women had “fallen short” in previous years.

The focus on Westminster emerged from revelations about Harvey Weinstein and the growth of a global campaign that has emboldened some victims of sexual harassment and bullying to speak out about their ordeals.