Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:06 pm on 16th November 2017.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Chair, Finance Committee (Commons), Chair, Finance Committee (Commons) 12:06 pm, 16th November 2017

As warmly as I feel towards the Leader of the House’s efforts in this area, I think that the composition of the working party is not right. It is heavily overloaded with MPs and with the hierarchy within the political parties as well. One of the really big issues here is how very young, junior members of staff feel when they are being bullied or sexually harassed by someone who holds their life or their career in the balance because of the flow of patronage in Parliament. I note that there are no lesbian or gay members of the working party, despite the fact that issues can arise if a young man or woman wants to make an allegation about their boss that could in effect involve outing themselves or the person concerned. I hope that the Leader of the House will look again at the composition of the working party. However, my biggest anxiety of all is that we should have justice for both sides. If we just have trial by the newspapers, or trial by the front page, that is not justice for the people who feel that they have been abused and want to make allegations; nor does it provide justice for those at the other end. I remember, in 2003, a journalist from The Mail on Sunday coming up to me in the Strangers bar and saying, “We’re all taking bets on when you’ll commit suicide. I hope it will be before Christmas.”