Speaker Calls For Review Of Parliament's Work Practices After Sexual Misconduct Claims

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Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons. (Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images)
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons. (Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images)

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons. (Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images)

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

Sir Lindsay Hoyle said a review is “needed urgently” to examine the current structure whereby MPs employ their staff directly.

It follows a spate of allegations by MPs and staff of bullying and sexual misconduct across the parliamentary estate.

Hoyle’s office said he was working with political parties and house authorities to establish a “Speaker’s Conference” as soon as possible to consider the problems.

Made up of MPs, the committee would review current working practices and conditions, take expert advice and consider if there is a case 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 whether it is right 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 house to approve it.

Hoyle hopes the conference will reach cross-party agreement and make recommendations to the house 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 service.

It comes after Tory MP Neil Parish stood down after he was allegedly seen by two female MPs watching pornography on his phone in the House of Commons chamber.

It prompted senior Tory MP Caroline Nokes to say her party is institutionally sexist and that there was a culture of “male entitlement” in the party.

Separately, there are reports that 56 MPs are currently facing sexual misconduct investigations, including three cabinet ministers and two shadow cabinet ministers.

The Sunday Times has also outlined a number of claims 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, known as a “dick pic”, by a male colleague and another MP repeatedly warned about his use of prostitutes, according to sources.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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