Theresa May calls for 'new culture of respect' in wake of Westminster sex scandal

Posted On: 
6th November 2017

Theresa May will today call for a "new culture of respect" as party leaders meet to discuss their response to the Westminster sex scandal. 

The Prime Minister will call for a 'new culture of respect' in Westminster
Credit: 
PA

The Prime Minister will host cross-party talks in Downing St on how to set up a new independent grievance procedure for parliamentary staff who come forward with complaints.

It follows a tumultuous week in Westminster in which Defence Secretary Michael Fallon resigned over his past behaviour.

Several of Mrs May's Tory colleagues are currently under investigation over allegations of improper behaviour, including Cabinet ally Damian Green and Trade minister Mark Garnier.

Another Tory MP, Chris Pincher, stepped down as a government whip yesterday and referred himself to the police over claims in a newspaper that he made a pass at a party activist in 2001.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is also under pressure over why Kelvin Hopkins was promoted to the front bench despite being reprimanded by party whips over claims he acted inappropriately towards an activist.

And the party is investigating activist Bex Bailey's allegation that she was raped at a party event in 2011 and then discouraged from reporting the attack by a party official.

Mrs May will address the concerns in a speech at the CBI later, saying: "We need to establish a new culture of respect at the centre of our public life.

"One in which everyone can feel confident that they are working in a safe and secure environment, where complaints can be brought forward without prejudice and victims know that those complaints will be investigated properly.

"Political parties have not always got this right in the past. But I am determined to get it right for the future."

She will call for the new system to go beyond party lines. 

"Those working for Members of Parliament should not have to navigate different party systems depending on their employer's political affiliation," Mrs May will say.

"What has been revealed over the last few weeks has been deeply troubling - and has understandably led to significant public unease.

"Women and men should be able to work free from the threat or fear of harassment, bullying or intimidation.

"But for too long the powerful have been able to abuse their power, and their victims have not felt able to speak out."