Labour MP reveals how colleague had been sexually harassed

‘Woman who was sexually harassed by her House of Commons colleague was treated like the problem’, Labour’s Teresa Pearce tells MPs

  • MPs gasped as Teresa Pearce raised the case of a constituent who is employed by the Commons and had been targeted at work. 
  • Her remarks prompted PM to vow to make a ‘very serious response’ to the case and findings of a report into sexual harassment and bullying in Parliament.
  • Report continued to cause issues for Labour after leader Jeremy Corbyn was forced to slap down his MPs over controversial comments yesterday

A Labour MP shocked Parliament yesterday as she described how a House of Commons employee had been sexually harassed by a colleague.

MPs gasped as Teresa Pearce raised the case of a constituent who is employed by the Commons and had been targeted at work. Her remarks prompted Theresa May to vow to make a ‘very serious response’ to the case and the findings of a damning report into sexual harassment and bullying in Parliament.

Miss Pearce told the House: ‘Despite many months of meetings with her HR and line management, she’s been treated like the problem rather than the victim.

MPs gasped as Teresa Pearce raised the case of a constituent who is employed by the Commons and had been targeted at work

‘Could the Prime Minister advise me what I can do to help my constituent return to work and feel safe – when her employer is this House?’ Mrs May replied by acknowledging her ‘concern’ over the findings of the Cox Report which identified a culture of bullying and abuse.

‘I hope there will be a very serious, full response and a proper response to Dame Laura Cox’s report,’ she said.

‘This should worry all of us and what I want to see is a situation where [Miss Pearce’s] constituent is able to ensure she can come to work in this House, be treated with dignity and respect, and not be subject to bullying, harassment or abuse.’


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It is understood that the Erith and Thamesmead constituent is employed directly by the House of Commons, rather than an MP. Miss Pearce said: ‘After many months of trying to support my constituent through the proper channels, out of sheer frustration, I felt that I had to raise it on the floor of the House today, especially after the report that was published yesterday.

‘I am not willing to divulge any details about my constituent, other than to say that she has my full support.’

The report continued to cause issues for Labour after leader Jeremy Corbyn was forced to slap down his MPs over controversial comments yesterday.

The Cox Report called for a change in the leadership of Parliament to enable the negative culture to be defeated. It prompted calls from Tory MPs for Speaker John Bercow to go, but Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, and Dame Margaret Beckett, the party’s former acting leader, said it was important that Mr Bercow stayed to oversee Brexit. Mr Corbyn’s spokesman distanced himself from their comments, saying Miss Thornberry was only expressing a ‘personal view’. 

 

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