I beg to move,
That this House
has considered the Gemma White report on bullying and harassment of MPs’
Let me begin by thanking Gemma White QC for her report, and paying tribute to all who came forward to share their personal experiences with her.
Each of us is directly responsible for the staff whom we employ. Without them we would not be able to carry out our duties effectively, and I am sure all Members will want to join me in expressing our immense gratitude for the hard work, support and loyalty that those who work in our offices provide for us day in and day out. We would not be able to serve our constituents without them, and, as such, they matter not just to us as Members of this House, but to the millions of constituents up and down our country whom we are here to represent.
I am sure that Members in all parts of the House will share my concern about a number of the matters to which the report refers. It highlights statements alleging deeply inappropriate conduct on the part of some Members towards their staff, and between staff. It contains serious allegations, including those relating to Members who
“shout at, demean, belittle and humiliate their staff on a regular basis, often in public.”
Reference is made to
“staff being subject to unwanted sexual advances, often accompanied by touching, sometimes forceful.”
We should not hesitate to condemn any occurrence of that kind as completely unacceptable, and as a failure to uphold the standards that we expect in our Parliament. The report constitutes a call to all Members of all parties to continue to act together to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to prevent and deal effectively with bullying, harassment and sexual harassment, and I reiterate that call today.