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Friday 13 July 2018

House of Commons harassment: Leadsom must pause introduction of “flawed” new policy, FDA warns

The House of Commons Committee on Standards has released its report on the new proposals for a bullying and harassment policy in Parliament.

Commenting on the recommendation that would see MPs debate in the House the most serious sanctions handed to MPs accused of bullying and harassment, FDA Assistant General Secretary Amy Leversidge said:

“In no other environment would an employee's complaint of bullying or indeed sexual harassment be subject to the scrutiny and debate of 650 individuals. Even if not named, there is every chance that circumstances published around the complaint could lead to an individual being identified.

“There is currently no impediment, other than the pleading of the Speaker, to avoid any MP in this position from naming the individual who complained. How can this build confidence for an individual to raise the most serious allegations against an MP, knowing that this very person has the power to name them in public? This is in itself bullying and intimidating behaviour.

“At the point in the proposed process when an MP is to be sanctioned for their behaviour, there is nothing to stop that MP using their parliamentary privilege to undermine the judgement of the independent investigator and plead their case directly to MPs in the House. We are back to the fundamental problem - MPs cannot be trusted to mark their own homework.

“The FDA is urging Andrea Leadsom to pause the introduction of the new policy so these fundamental details can be worked out. It is unfair to the first users of the policy to force them to navigate their way through this flawed procedure. As we have seen with the failed Respect Policy - a flawed policy quickly becomes an unusable one.”

Notes for editors
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 2. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".
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