More Needs To Be Done To Improve Culture In Parliament, Downing Street Admits

The prime minister's spokesman was asked about reports that a Tory MP had been spotted watching porn on their phone in the commons.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
House of Commons - PA Images via Getty Images

Parliament has “more to do” to improve its culture, Downing Street said today amid a fresh sex scandal.

Two female Tory MPs have said they saw a male colleague watching porn on his phone in the Commons.

The chief whip has asked the women to refer their allegations to parliament’s independent complaints scheme, which investigates allegations of misconduct.

It comes after separate claims that 56 MPs are currently facing sexual misconduct investigations, including three cabinet ministers and two shadow cabinet ministers.

Asked if Boris Johnson thought parliament’s boozy bars and sexist culture were contributing to bad behaviour, his official spokesman replied: “I think what’s clear is that there is a lot to do to improve the culture in parliament.

“I think the defence secretary talked about some of the challenges in his [media] round this morning. And some of the themes and evidence given by female MPs is shocking and it’s right that action is being taken where concerns are being raised.”

Baroness Morgan of Cotes, a Tory peer and former education secretary, said the MP should be expelled “as a minimum” if the allegations are proven.

Asked about that, the spokesman replied: “I haven’t spoken to him on that specific point. This is related to an allegation of an unnamed backbencher.

“So I’m not going to say any more given there is a process ongoing that needs to be followed.”

The Tory party’s chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris has called for the case to be referred to Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) which investigates allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct.

The disciplinary process could lead to a recommendation that the MP is suspended or forced out of the commons if a complaint is upheld.

Rachel Maclean, who is the home office minister responsible for safeguarding women, called for the MP to be expelled from the Conservative Party, saying the alleged behaviour was “shocking and unacceptable”.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace said the MP should lose the whip and could face sanctions including the prospect of a by-election if they were found to have watched pornography on their phone in the chamber.


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