New harassment inquiry must not delay implementation of Dame Laura Cox’s recommendations, says FDA
Responding to the announcement that Gemma White QC has been appointed to conduct an independent inquiry into the bullying and harassment of MPs’ parliamentary staff, FDA Assistant General Secretary Amy Leversidge said:
“We welcome every attempt to improve the culture of bullying and harassment in Westminster, but MPs must not use Gemma White’s inquiry as an excuse to water down or delay the implementation of Dame Laura Cox’s recommendations.
“White’s inquiry should help to build an even bigger picture of MPs’ conduct across Parliament, as well as their constituency offices, and we’d encourage MPs’ staff, past and present, to come forward and share their experiences, as we did with Dame Laura’s inquiry.
“However, this inquiry should not be used to water down, delay or second guess Dame Laura’s recommendations, which have already been agreed by the House of Commons Commission.
“The inquiry should also not be seen as a substitute for properly investigating past cases and staff who give evidence should have that made clear to them to avoid causing confusion.
“Dame Laura recommended lifting arbitrary restrictions on past cases, which would allow staff to bring a complaint about past behaviour and have that investigated and, if upheld, sanctioned. This has been agreed by the House of Commons commission and must be implemented as soon as possible.
“We’ve seen MPs attempt to delay and water down proposals to protect staff in the past and this cannot be allowed to happen again. The time for change is now.”