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WATCH: Labour’s Lisa Nandy accuses Theresa May of ignoring sex abuse warnings

WATCH: Labour’s Lisa Nandy accuses Theresa May of ignoring sex abuse warnings

Liz Bates

3 min read

Theresa May was repeatedly warned about Westminster sex abuse allegations three years ago, Labour MP Lisa Nandy has said. 


Ms Nandy accused the Prime Minister of ignoring evidence she had presented to the Commons that the Whips' Office had covered up sexual misconduct by MPs.  

On 7 July 2014, the Wigan MP confronted the then Home Secretary, saying “a senior ex-Whip who had served in the 1970s told the BBC that the Whips Office routinely helped MPs with scandals, including those, in his own words, “involving small boys”, and that they did so to exert control over those individuals and prevent problems for the Government."

She told the House: “That is just one powerful example of how personal and political interests can conspire to prevent justice from happening.

"May we have a full commitment that the inquiry will consider not just the police and social services but what happens at the heart of power, and that if those systems are found to exist today, they will be overturned, whether or not it makes life uncomfortable for political parties, Parliament or the Government?”

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions today, Ms Nandy said: “Three years ago I brought evidence to her in this House that whips had used information about sexual abuse to demand loyalty from MPs.

"I brought that information to her in this House and warned her that unless real action was taken we risked repeating those injustices. On three occasions I asked her to act and on three occasions she did not...Will she finally take concrete action to tackle this?"

The Prime Minister replied that she would look back at the record, adding that she was “very clear that we will take action against those where there are allegations that we see and the evidence is there that there has been misconduct.

“I hope we will all send a message from this House today that we want people in this place to be able to feel confident to bring forward cases and we need to ensure that those cases are dealt with in a way that people can have confidence on both sides that they will be properly investigated," she told MPs.

CROSS-PARTY TALKS

Earlier in the session the Prime Minister said she had written to other party leaders asking for a meeting to discuss the allegations, later adding that talks should also look at bullying.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was “happy to meet the Prime Minister and all party leaders to discuss this".

“We need better protections for all, this House must involve workplace trade unions in that but it's also incumbent on all parties to have robust procedures in place to protect and support victims of abuse and harassment," he added.  

This follows the launch of investigation over allegations that First Secretary of State Damian Green had touched the knee of a Conservative activist in 2015 and sent her “suggestive” text messages.

Meanwhile, a Labour party activist yesterday claimed she was raped at a party event in 2011 but an official told her to keep quiet or risk harming her career.

Another female staffer at Westminster has told how she was let down by parliamentary authorities after being attacked by an MP on a foreign trip.

A list of almost 40 Tory MPs has been circulating around Westminster listing a mix of inappropriate behaviour and office gossip of a sexual nature.

Some who have been outed as being on the list on social media have threatened to take legal action

Watch Ms Nandy's question to the Prime Minister here: 

 

 

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