Women have bravely spoken out. Now, both parties need to take concrete steps towards making things better... regardless of what Boris Johnson is up toby Megan Corton Scott / November 9, 2017 / Leave a comment
Given the furore over Priti Patel and Boris Johnson, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether the harassment scandal in Westminster is now somehow over. It’s been two weeks since the Conservative party spreadsheet, containing information on ‘disgraced’ MPs, went public. The intention behind this spreadsheet was as clear as day: to document potential embarrassments to the party, rather than to collate stories of sexual harassment and assault. Poor Amber Rudd, to have the rumours about her on the same list as the Mark Garnier allegations—as if dating when you’re 54 is akin to asking your parliamentary staffer to buy sex toys.
Yet the concept of using potentially criminal behaviour to demand loyalty from backbenchers is not a new one. Lisa Nandy has raised this very point three times—and again for the fourth time last week—to Theresa May, first in the latter’s role as Home Secretary and again as Prime Minister.
Unfortunately, on both sides of the bench, the safety of staffers is not a priority when it comes to making sure you’ve got the numbers you need. Jeremy Corbyn has said that, as far as he knew, the case against Kelvin Hopkins “had been closed” by the time he elevated him to the shadow cabinet. But questions remain. The handling of investigations into both Damian Green and David Prescott should rightly be scrutinised, not for their political ramifications but for the precedent they will set for each party.