John Bercow. Photo: Rick Findler/ PA
Theresa May subsequently wrote to the Speaker of the
House of Commons, John Bercow, saying that the Commons disciplinary procedures absence “teeth” and necessitated urgent reform.
She said a situation where MPs did not have to follow procedures laid down by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority( Ipsa) could not be tolerated any longer.
She asked for Bercow’s assistance in working on a cross-party basis to establish a new “house-wide mediation service” backed by a” contractually bind grievance procedure” available for all MPs.
A Conservative spokesman said:” As the cabinet of ministers has made clear, any reports of sexual harassment are deep concerning and any unwanted sex behaviour is completely unacceptable in any walk of life, including politics.
” Today, as a result of allegations about a serving minister, the cabinet of ministers has also asked the Cabinet Office to conduct an immediate investigation to see whether those reported actions transgress the ministerial code .”
According to the newspaper report, Garnier gave Edmondson money to buy a sex doll for his wife and another for a woman working in his Wyre Forest constituency office.
Edmondson said:” He suggested to me in a Commons bar one evening that we ran shopping for sex playthings in Soho. The next day, he said:’ Come on, let’s do it .’ He took me to Soho and gave me the money to buy two vibrators. He stood outside the shop while I did .”
Garnier, a former City fund manager, is wedded with three children and was elected MP for Wyre Forest in 2010.
Downing Street has not yet is a response to Garnier’s case, but a separate report in the Sunday Times claimed May receives regular briefings on the sex affairs of members of the government from Conservative lashes, who are responsible for enforcing party discipline.
Labour is also braced for fresh allegations of inappropriate behaviour, as junior faculty feeling emboldened to come forward.
Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, told Marr:” This isn’t a problem for any particular party or faction of a party … it runs in communities across parliament .” She said she hoped the recent revelations would lead to a sea change in the culture of all male-dominated professions.
Some MPs have claimed accusations are not taken seriously enough. One former Conservative minister said:” It’s grim: the whole culture has to change .”
Another senior Tory named on Sunday was Stephen Crabb, who stood for the party leadership last year. He has admitted sending a 19 -year-old who hoped to work for him a series of messages that he described as” sex chattering “.
” We exchanged messages which talked about sexuality but none of it was meant seriously ,” Crabb told the Sunday Telegraph.” We gratified for coffee a few periods and had a glass of wine once at the Commons, but nothing more. I accept any kind of sexual chattering like this is totally wrong and I am sorry for my actions ,.” The incident is distinct from one last year in which the MP sent explicit text messages to another young woman.
The Weinstein affair, in which the former Hollywood mogul has been accused of multiple incidents of rape and sexual harassment, many of them by women who hoped he would further their careers, has raised questions about the culture at Westminster.
Michael Gove, the environment secretary,
apologised on Saturday after making a joke about the Hollywood producer on BBC Radio 4′ s Today programme.
Gove builds ‘clumsy’ Harvey Weinstein joke on Today programme- audio
He told the presenter John Humphrys during an interview to mark the show’s 60 th anniversary:” Sometimes I suppose coming into the studio with you, John, is a bit like going into Harvey Weinstein’s bedroom: you hope to emerge with your dignity intact .”
Gove afterward tweeted:” Apologies for my clumsy attempt at humour on R4 Today this morning- it wasn’t appropriate. I’m sorry and apologise unreservedly .”
Abbott told Marr on Sunday:” Particularly in parliament, inducing sexual harassment a joke is one of the reasons it’s not been dealt with. You have got to realise it’s undermining and demeaning for women and it undermines and demeans the institution .”