How dare MPs be such brazen hypocrites over abuse claims

first_imgFriday 19 October 2018 7:58 am Share How dare MPs be such brazen hypocrites over abuse claims Such self-interested apathy would rightly never fly in the private sector, especially not in what we’re now calling the #MeToo era.But politics is a dirty game – which apparently means you can act as dirtily, sleazily, inappropriately as you want, and the colour of your rosette or your stance on Brexit will absolve you of all your sins.Of course, the Tories are hardly blameless either.On the blue side, there have been a plethora of calls for Bercow to go now – most dramatically from the chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Miller. In fact, a whole range of Conservatives have chimed in, coincidentally including many who have been gunning for Bercow for years.One does not, however, recall similar Tory unity last year, when the then defence secretary Michael Fallon resigned after a series of complaints about his improper conduct.At the time, Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale warned that the scandal over Westminster sexual abuse claims were a “witch hunt”. He does not appear to be defending hunted witches like Bercow now.And when Damian Green’s position in the cabinet was at risk following accusations of inappropriate sexual advances and pornography found on his work computer, David Davis threatened to resign as Brexit secretary in solidarity.He didn’t actually do it when Green was eventually sacked, but that’s beside the point – no similar support has been proffered in this instance.The message from both sides is clear: sexual harassment should only be taken seriously if you can score political points in the process – and if it’s your teammate in the crosshairs, defend them at all costs.After the Presidents Club debacle at the start of the year, it was asked whether the City could ever restore its reputation from revelations of such a toxic and overtly sexist culture. The fact that few are making similar arguments about parliament tells us, sadly, that the battle has already been lost.We expect no better from our elected representatives – and so no better is exactly what we’re going to get.Read more: Bercow ‘must quit’ over damning report into parliamentary bullying Inappropriate touching. Groping. Sexual slurs. whatsapp And the response from those at the top has been… well, deferential, subservient, acquiescent, and silent.If ever there were a moment when we could hope for some cross-party unity, this was it. Instead, the Cox report immediately turned into a political football in the never-ending game of Brexit.The Labour party, which has worker rights and protections woven into its very foundation, has contorted itself in knots over the report. The problem is the recommendation that the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, stand down earlier than expected.Bercow is not specifically named, but Cox clearly considers him part of the problem, with criticism of how complaints were handled, and the damning conclusion that “the levers of change are regarded as part of the change that is needed”.That is to say nothing of the specific accusations of bullying made against Bercow himself earlier this year (which the speaker denies). These are not detailed in the Cox report, but were partly why it was commissioned in the first place – a fact that has not gone unnoticed. Ad Unmute by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeMisterStoryWoman Files For Divorce After Seeing This Photo – Can You See Why?MisterStoryUndoBetterBe20 Stunning Female AthletesBetterBeUndoMoneyPailShe Was A Star, Now She Works In ScottsdaleMoneyPailUndoRest Wow68 Hollywood Stars Who Look Unrecognizable NowRest WowUndoOne-N-Done | 7-Minute Workout7 Minutes a Day To a Flat Stomach By Using This 1 Easy ExerciseOne-N-Done | 7-Minute WorkoutUndoDaily FunnyFemale Athlete Fails You Can’t Look Away FromDaily FunnyUndozenherald.comDolly Finally Took Off Her Wig, Fans Gaspedzenherald.comUndoNoteableyJulia Robert’s Daughter Turns 16 And Looks Just Like Her MomNoteableyUndoFinanceChatterViewers Had To Look Away When This Happened On Live TVFinanceChatterUndo whatsapp Men trying to kiss unwilling women, dragging them into secluded spaces, making derogatory, objectifying comments about their appearance. Telling them to be “sexier”. Similar, though less widespread, harassment of junior men.When the news broke that this toxic behaviour was widespread in Hollywood, it was met with an international outcry and a social media movement that has blazed for over a year.Read more: Sexists in the City? Fewer than there were, but we can do betterWhen, last January, similar conduct was unveiled at the Presidents Club, a London fundraising event for businessmen, it sent shockwaves through the City, sparking calls for the capital’s business community to take a long, hard look at its sexist culture.But this week, former high court judge Dame Laura Cox released her report detailing the appalling treatment to which parliamentary staffers are subjected in Westminster, against a backdrop of “deference, subservience, acquiescence and silence”. Rachel Cunliffe Inconveniently for Labour MPs, Bercow is a major ally when it comes to challenging the government over Brexit. Crucial votes are on the horizon, and with razor-thin margins, a speaker sympathetic to the Remain cause could make all the difference.That’s why we’ve seen some truly shocking displays of hypocrisy. Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, among others, argued that Brexit meant it wasn’t the right time to change speaker. Other Labour MPs have decided to stay deafeningly quiet.But Dame Margaret Beckett went further, admitting that “abuse is terrible… but yes if it comes to it, the constitutional future of this country… trumps bad behaviour”.In other words, I’m sorry you were the victim of bullying and harassment, but getting our way on Brexit is more important to us than ensuring you are safe at work.Imagine if a chief executive were to show such callousness. We accept that your manager bullied you, your colleagues harassed you, your professionalism was undermined, your complaints dismissed, your position compromised, your body groped… but our company’s bottom line and reputation is more important right now. Sorry-not-sorry. See yourself out. 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