Birmingham MP Jess Phillips says a dozen people in Parliament are involved in abuse

Birmingham MP Jess Phillips says a dozen people in Parliament are involved in abuse

Birmingham MP Jess Phillips has said there are at least 12 people in the House of Commons who are known to abuse or bully others.

She said: “We all know exactly who they are and exactly how they are getting away with it.”

And she predicted nothing would be done to stop them.

Ms Phillips (Lab Yardley) was speaking as MPs debated a report by judge Dame Laura Cox which found “bullying, harassment and sexual harassment have been able to thrive” in the Commons.

Dame Laura said some MPs are some senior managers were guilty of appalling behaviour.

Ms Phillips told the Commons she would not name the people she had in mind. But she said: “The fact of the matter is, is that nothing I have heard today fills me with any hope that politics will be taken out of this and that the same 12 people, and we all know exactly who they are and exactly how they are getting away with it, won’t just be walking around for the next 20 years.”

Cabinet Minister Andrea Leadsom, the Leader of the Commons, said in response: “If she knows of 12 people walking around who are abusing people then she should report them.

“There is now somewhere to report them and she should do so.”

Among the many shocking findings of the report was a warning that sexual harassment by MPs is a “widespread problem” in the the House of Commons.

The report said that male MPs become “increasingly boorish” when they get together.

And it suggested that restrictions on Commons bars were needed, to stop MPs drinking during working hours.

Dame Laura had been appointed by senior House of Commons managers to investigate claims of appalling behaviour in the House of Commons.

She uncovered what she called: “A culture, cascading from the top down, of deference, subservience, acquiescence and silence, in which bullying, harassment and sexual harassment have been able to thrive and have long been tolerated and concealed.”

Staff also experienced bullying she said – and the effects on some people have been “long lasting and, in some cases, devastating.”

One member of staff told the inquiry: “I felt physically sick….I would find myself crying in the toilets, I wasn’t able to eat or sleep properly and I began to feel consistently unwell.”

Dame Laura said: “Members of Parliament shouting abuse at staff was something frequently referred to, with the abusive phrase ‘you’re f***ing useless,’ shouted at close quarters, being described independently, by a number of people working in different departments, as a regular event.”

Commons Speaker John Bercow has reportedly confirmed he will stand down next year.

Some MPs have attacked the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, after Dame Laura suggested senior Commons officials had allowed a culture of bullying and abuse to continue.

She said the culture in the House of Commons needed to change, but added: “However, the level of trust and confidence in the senior House administration to deliver on that promise is now so low that few contributors to this inquiry consider it likely to happen, at least not within the foreseeable future.”

And while she did not name any individual, she said that references to the senior House administration included “the Clerk of the House; the Director General; the Executive Board; the House of Commons Commission; the Speaker’s Office.”

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