Speaker calls for review of parliament’s working practices after sexual misconduct complaints

The Speaker of the House of Commons calls for a review of current working practices in Parliament.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle said a review was ‘urgently needed’ to examine the current structure in which MPs directly employ their staff.

This follows a series of allegations by MPs and staff of intimidation and sexual misconduct across the parliamentary realm.

Hoyle’s office said it was working with political parties and House authorities to establish a “president’s conference” as soon as possible to consider the issues.

Comprised of MPs, the committee would review current working practices and conditions, take expert advice and determine whether there is a need for change.

Sir Lindsay said: ‘I take recent allegations of bullying and sexual impropriety, comments and advances very seriously, which is why it is time we reviewed our working practices, particularly if it is just that individual MPs are the employers of their staff.

“The question is: should someone else – or an outside body – employ the staff, as long as the MP has the right to choose them?

The mechanism was last used in 2008 to provide advice on parliamentary representation and requires both the government and the chamber to approve it.

Hoyle hopes the conference will reach a cross-party agreement and make recommendations back home on a case for change.

Meanwhile, Dame Andrea Leadsom, the former leader of the House of Commons, has called for the creation of a human resources department.

It comes after Tory MP Neil Parish resigned after he was allegedly seen by two female MPs watching pornography on his phone in the Commons bedroom.

This prompted Senior Conservative MP Caroline Nokes to say her party is institutionally sexist and that there was a culture of ‘male rights’ in the party.

Separately, reports indicate that 56 MPs are currently under investigation for sexual misconduct, including three cabinet ministers and two shadow cabinet ministers.

The Sunday Times also featured a number of complaints against MPs today, including a senior MP accused of repeatedly licking the faces of male researchers in parliamentary bars.

Other allegations include a female Tory MP who was sent an explicit photograph by a male colleague, known as a “dick pic”, and another MP repeatedly warned about her use of prostitutes, sources say.

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