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Monday 15 October 2018

"Until Parliament acts, the House of Commons will continue to be as fragile as a House of Cards": the FDA backs Dame Laura Cox report recommendations

The FDA welcomes the recommendations made in Dame Laura Cox's enquiry into the bullying and harassment of House of Commons staff, and is pleased to see how the union's own calls to action have been embraced in this report.

Assistant General Secretary Amy Leversidge said: “The House of Commons needs to wake up. Dame Laura hits the nail on the head when she said that tolerating bullying diminishes the legitimacy and authority of Parliament itself.
 
"Her recommendations echo the FDA’s own. The Respect Policy is fundamentally flawed and must be replaced. The new independent complaints and grievance procedure introduced by Andrea Leadsom’s group in July replicates many of the fundamental failings of the policy.
 
"Importantly, Dame Laura recommends that all historical cases should be allowed to be investigated under the new complaints policy. This would be a necessary step towards delivering justice, and one the FDA has been calling for.
 
"The MPs made the arbitrary decision to restrict past cases to the start of the last parliament (June 2017), effectively wiping the slate clean for the bullies. Given that Dame Laura was presented with a ‘series of serious allegations of abusive conduct made against particular individuals… some of whom were regarded as serial offenders’, it is imperative that individuals be allowed to raise their complaints.
 
"Dame Laura’s third recommendation that the new policy should be amended to ensure that it is ‘entirely independent process in which Members of Parliament will play no part’ is crucial. We have said for years that this was the fundamental problem with the Respect Policy, and the reason why it has failed so badly. Self-regulation is a system that has been found to fail time and time again and the 155 pages of shocking and disturbing testimony in Dame Laura’s report shows how it has not only failed to protect House staff from bullying MPs, but has allowed this toxic culture to thrive. 
 
"The House must change. Every MP should read this report, and Parliament needs to act on its recommendation immediately. It is clear that the House cannot say that it has a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment while it still tolerates what has happened in the past, and preserves a system designed to work for MPs, rather than what is right and what is needed.
 
"These are not the first stories of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment. Urgent action is required to ensure that they are the last. Until Parliament implements these recommendations, the House of Commons will continue to be as fragile as a House of Cards."

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