House of Commons leader backs bullying inquiry
The leader of the House of Commons has called for an inquiry into allegations of “systematic bullying” of staff in Westminster.
Speaking yesterday (12 March) in Parliament, Andrea Leadsom said she would be recommending a “short, independently-led inquiry” to the House of Commons Commission when it meets next week.
Her announcement follows an investigation by the BBC programme Newsnight, which reported fresh complaints about the behaviour of several MPs.
Ms Leadsom added the clerk of the House of Commons’ also wrote to parliamentary staff yesterday, saying that there are “clearly unresolved issues over bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment”, which need to be addressed.
“The clerk of the House of Commons has also reassured staff who wish to come forward with complaints of bullying that they will be dealt with in the proper manner, with the support of their managers and colleagues,” said Ms Leadsom.
“It is right that everyone working for or with Parliament, regardless of position or seniority, should have the same rights and protections and should be held to the same high standards.”
In response, the Green MP Caroline Lucas said many people will have been “shocked” by the “revelations of bullying” in the recent Newsnight report.
Leading by example
“This is not about party politics and it is not about political gain,” Ms Lucas told MPs. “It is about doing the right thing by the staff who support us on a daily basis and ensuring that the House of Commons leads by example when it comes to robustly tackling workplace bullying and sexual misconduct.”
Last month, Ms Leadsom pledged to “fundamentally change” the working culture in parliament, after a report was published which showed more than a third of staff in Westminster have experienced harassment or bullying in the last year.
Speaking yesterday, she added: “I am committed to stamping out all kinds of bullying and harassment in Parliament in order to create an environment in which everyone feels safe and is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
For information about dealing with bullies and toxic workplace cultures see Dr Flis’ regular SHP blog posts here.