Its good that all political parties are agreed about the need to put in place an independent structure to deal with harassment and bullying in the Westminster Parliament. I hope other parliaments in the UK will do the same. The Prime Minister has taken the initiative and other party leaders have responded. Theresa May, whom I think has been quite shocked by what she has been faced with over recent days has moved quickly, and other party leaders have also responded quickly. It’s crucial that everyone who feels they have been subject to harassment or bullying have access to face-to-face support services. Anyone who feels they have been abused needs to know they will be listened to.
When I was a young man, sexual harassment was much more prevelant than it is today. To some extent it was almost accepted as a part of growing up. But thankfully, times and attitudes have moved on. This is very welcome. Harassment is not acceptable today. Its not an issue of morality. It’s an issue about power and use of positions of influence. Today’s announcement from party leaders is to do with promoting a culture of respect.
There may be more revelations of unacceptable behaviour, and it’s important that each case is considered carefully - for the sake of everyone involved. I hope we can all welcome the determination of our political leaders to deliver the message that harassment in all its forms in our parliaments must end.