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Boris Johnson’s ‘anti-woke’ agenda fuels sexism in parliament, says senior Labour woman

Boris Johnson’s “anti-woke agenda” has helped gas the rise in misogynistic behaviour in parliament, certainly one of Labour’s most senior girls MPs has stated.

Margaret Hodge’s feedback got here after the resignation of Tory MP Neil Parish for watching porn in the Commons chamber, and amid a flood of complaints about girls at Westminster being groped, objectified and belittled due to their intercourse.

Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is to convene a once-in-a-generation convention to carry events and parliamentary authorities collectively to seek out options to the issue of bullying and sexual harassment. These might contain ending the association the place MPs immediately make use of their very own workers, making it tough for them to complain about their remedy.

But cupboard minister Kwasi Kwarteng denied there was a tradition of misogyny in parliament, blaming the string of current instances on “bad apples” amongst MPs.

And claims that 56 male MPs are at the moment below investigation for sexual misconduct had been cast into doubt by the director of parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme, Jo Willows, who stated 2022 was following a “similar trend” to final year, when a complete of 15 instances had been introduced towards MPs.

Meanwhile, it emerged that the chair of the Commons requirements committee, Chris Bryant, was himself “touched up” by male MPs when he arrived at Westminster as a younger homosexual man in 2001.

Mr Bryant, now 60, stated he didn’t report the incidents for concern of changing into “part of the story” however would now take a extra “robust” response.

And SNP MP Anum Qaisar, who entered parliament final year, stated she was suggested by a feminine Tory MP on which of her male colleagues she ought to hold at a distance after one turned “far too over-cavalier” in the direction of her at a parliamentary occasion.

“Since I joined parliament, I’ve been taken aside by female MPs to warn me about some male MPs,” stated Ms Qaisar, 29. “They say ‘Actually, Anum, you’re probably better off staying away from X, Y and Z’.”

Dame Margaret Hodge stated that the upsurge in sexism complaints was partly brought on by the “culture led from the top” in UK politics.

“We have had Boris Johnson creating a culture where it’s OK to break the rules and we’ve got an ‘anti-woke’ culture being driven from the top,” she instructed BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend.

“That anti-woke culture has allowed this sort of behaviour to be seen as the norm.”

She stated it was notable that international secretary Liz Truss had made no public remark, in her function as minister for ladies, concerning the points raised by the Parish case.

Mr Kwarteng insisted that parliament was a protected place for ladies however stated that the pressures of the job drove some MPs to step over the road.

“I don’t think there’s a culture of misogyny,” Mr Kwarteng instructed Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

“I think the problem we have is that people are working in a really intense environment. There are long hours. I think, generally, most people know their limits. They know how to act respectfully, but there are some instances where people don’t frankly act according to the highest standards.”

Mr Kwarteng it might be “excessively puritanical” to close down parliament’s bars in the hope of ending sexual misconduct and sleaze.

“We’ve got to distinguish between some bad apples, people who behave badly, and the general environment,” he instructed the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme. “There are some bad apples, there are people who have acted very badly, and they should be held to account.”

But Labour chief Keir Starmer stated that MPs couldn’t conceal behind the excuse of stress and lengthy hours to clarify away behaviour that might not be acceptable in different workplaces.

“We can’t run this argument about this ‘high pressure culture’,” he stated. “Take responsibility.

“Neil Parish chose to watch porn in parliament. Tory MPs chose to make disparaging comments about Angela Rayner. They’ve got to take responsibility.”

Sir Keir stated a “cultural change” in attitudes in the direction of misogyny in parliament wants not solely to be led by the prime minister however to be “modelled” by Boris Johnson in his personal behaviour.

“There’s a cultural issue we have to get to grips with and culture change has to be led from and modelled from the top,” he instructed Ridge.

The authorities had proven repeatedly that, when a Tory colleague will get into bother, ministers’ “first instinct is to push it off into the long grass, hide what’s happening,” stated Starmer.

And he added: “That’s a political problem because the fish rots from the head.”

Labour’s deputy chief Angela Rayner wrote to Mr Johnson demanding to know whether or not he might affirm a report in the Sunday Times suggesting {that a} Christmas occasion at No 10 in 2020 included an award for “sexist of the year”.

Setting out his plans for the primary speaker’s convention in Westminster since 2008, Speaker Hoyle stated: “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?”

SNP chief Nicola Sturgeon stated it was changing into more and more tough to persaude girls to take up political roles due to their concern that public life shouldn’t be a “safe space” for them.

“Fundamentally, this is about men accepting that they are the problem, and changing,” stated Ms Sturgeon. “If we don’t change this quickly then the consequences and the implications are going to be really severe, not just for politics but for women in public life more generally.”

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