ANDREA Leadsom has called for a rapid culture change at Westminster over bullying in her first speech from the backbenches after resigning as Leader of the House last month, saying current progress was “far too slow and not well enough resourced”.
Other MPs echoed her call for action as they stepped up against harassment. Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake said he hoped “the House will then act” on issues to do with bullying “before the summer recess”, which begins on June 24. Leadsom, left, who has become a staunch anti-bullying advocate, told the Commons yesterday about “some truly terrible stories” she had heard. She referenced “victims being quietly moved on; young women and young men being taken advantage of; complaints being left entirely unaddressed; and of mental health issues suffered by those who have been subjected to bullying”.
In a debate on the implementation of the Cox Report, Leadsom called for a bicameral approach to bullying and harassment, and demanded fixed weekly meetings of the House of Commons Commission.
Vicky Ford, the MP for Chelmsford, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in Parliament hit out at “prevaricating and delaying”, which she said can “worsen the level of public confidence in the House’s ability to correct past errors and implement fundamental change”.
Ford pointed out that research shows “Seventy-three per cent of both men and women [believe] that there needs to be change in how unwanted sexual harassment is dealt with in politics.” She warned: “If there are delays, they will only continue to undermine the legitimacy and authority of our own Parliament."
While other MPs found themselves “frustrated” at how they “still have a long way to go” and said it was “to all our shame that we are not much further along than where we were eight months ago”, one current staffer told The Londoner that “from the top, this is extremely welcome”.
Rory’s jibe comes back to bite him
RORY Stewart made the Eurosceptic 92 group leadership hustings wait for him last week so he could make a quick appearance on Iain Dale’s LBC show. On air, Stewart described the European Research Group as “sinister”, assuming, says a source, that his comment wouldn’t reach the MPs in hustings. It did, of course. Stewart returned to face the MPs, where Marcus Fysh asked: “Am I sinister, Rory?” Stewart said he was “stressed” by long days of campaigning. “It’s a good thing there’s no stress in being Prime Minister,” observed an attendee.
LBC’s James O’Brien says he had a hand in ending Dominic Raab’s leadership hopes. After Raab had a pop at O’Brien earlier this year, the presenter created a video montage of Raab’s finest moments that has now had almost four million views. O’Brien said: “I’m delighted to have brought Dominic’s evidence-free politics to a wider audience.”
Long before rom-coms, Richard Curtis had another passion. The Beatles were the “single thing in the world I cared the most about” Curtis told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that he once faked a temperature so he could stay in his dorm at school and listen to The White Album’s first broadcast. “I would do anything for The Beatles.”
Russell looks on the bright side while Naomi snaps in the South of France
AS THE BBC drama Years and Years concluded last night, its star Russell Tovey was at the Miu Musings at Spring fashion party at Somerset House. The actor recently said the show presents an optimistic vision of life in tragic times: “You still go past a shop and buy a nice pot to put a succulent in. You don’t stay in under the covers and slowly plan your death.” Fashion blogger Susie Lau and sprinter Dina Asher-Smith also turned up to celebrate.
Meanwhile, in W2 a pre-opening drinks reception at the Serpentine Gallery celebrated the 2019 Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Junya Ishigami. He was joined at the reception by fellow architect David Adjaye and Turner Prize-winning sculptor Anish Kapoor.
Over on the French Riviera, Naomi Campbell was snapped snapping herself at a Spotify beach party in Cannes. The supermodel was taking a selfie with her monogrammed “NC” phone case.
ANNA Soubry, below, has been taking aim at former Tory colleagues. Unfortunately for Chuka Umunna, since he left Change UK — which he co-founded with Soubry — to join the Lib Dems, he’s in her sights too. Pointing out that Umunna left Labour and said he’d never help Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street, Soubry asked him: “Come a general election and your Lib Dem leader moves to prop up a Corbyn Government — which promise will you keep?”
JESS Phillips points out a flaw in having Stanley Johnson on Newsnight. “If I ever rise to lofty heights I love the idea that anyone would ever ask my dad on the telly,” she tweeted. “Where is the value? My dad would obviously back me up and then tell you a charming story about the time I did an assault course aged four and how cheeky my kids are.”
TENSION backstage at the Tory leadership debate last night — not least because there was only one bathroom available for the candidates and their teams.
Michaela believes she’s maturing well
MICHAELA Coel says starring in BBC series Black Earth Rising, about the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, changed her forever. “I learnt to be curious, more than I was before,” she tells Variety. “I never know everything, and there will always be something I don’t know, so I should always be prepared to be wrong or to accept that I’m misinformed. I think it matured me, to really understand the implications of the work I make and the weight it carries in the world.”
Quote of the day
‘Word of the day: “cockalorum”, 18th-century speak for a self-important, strutting little man’
Countdown presenter Susie Dent’s choice feels appropriate today