Labour MP Says There Is A 'Whisper Network' Of Politicians To Avoid In Westminster

Charlotte Nichols says she was handed a list of MPs never to accept a drink from or be alone with when she arrived in parliament.
Charlotte Nichols is the MP for Warrington North
Charlotte Nichols is the MP for Warrington North
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A Labour MP has claimed there is a “whisper network” of politicians to avoid at Westminster.

Charlotte Nichols said colleagues handed her a list of MPs she should “never accept to drink from” or “be alone with” when she became MP for Warrington North in 2019.

Nichols said she “loved” her job but that there was aspects of it that she hated — including online abuse and the “toxicity” within parliament itself.

Asked by BBC Radio 5 Live how she coped with the culture when she arrived in Westminster, Nichols said: “I think a lot of it is people that we all know about, and are spoken about quite openly who have either been involved in bullying or sexual misconduct.

“We all know and nothing is done — and they continue to walk around and do their jobs, and there’s that kind of culture of impunity on it.”

“Do you avoid them?” host Naga Munchetty asked.

“Yes,” Nichols replied. “And everyone has a kind of whisper network list of the people to avoid but the problem is that some of the most dangerous people are people who would be the people you least suspect.”

She added: “When I first came into parliament, there was a group of people that I knew who kind of sat me down and gave me a list of MPs who I should never accept a drink from, who I should never be alone with, who I should never get in a lift with, and whom I should try to avoid as far as possible to keep myself safe.”

Nichols’ remarks come after Tory MP Gavin Williamson was forced to resign from his Cabinet Office role following a wave of bullying allegations against him.

And just a few months ago, Boris Johnson was brought down as prime minster for protecting former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher after he was alleged to have groped two men at a Conservative reception.

Pincher later resigned from his whip role but still sits as an independent MP in the Commons after he had the Tory party whip removed.

Neil Parish, a former Conservative MP, was also forced to quit after it was revealed that he had watched porn in the House of Commons, while a by-election will soon take place in Chester after the local MP, Chris Matheson, quit following complaints of sexual harassment.


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