Anne Main calls for Commons senior leadership not to be involved in process to tackle bullying and harassment in the House of Commons

16th October 2018

Speaking in the debate on the Cox report into bullying and harassment in the House of Commons, Anne Main calls for the Speaker not to be involved in the process when the leadership has been linked to being part of the problem.

The old adage is that the fish rots from the head, and the leadership failings that have been highlighted in this report are extremely worrying. I say to my right hon. Friend that the important thing is that nobody need fear being able to call to account those who—however senior they are—have failings. If this report has identified senior leadership failings, I consider that the comments from my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mrs Miller) should be taken into account. No one should be involved in this process who has potentially been linked to being part of the problem.

I take what my hon. Friend says very seriously. In this place, we are all aware that a number of issues are “matters for the House”. That is quite a tricky concept, because nowhere in the workplace are things simply a matter for all those who are involved in that workplace. So we have some unique challenges in trying to deal with Dame Laura’s recommendations, but deal with them we must. As I have said, the starting point will be the House of Commons Commission meeting on Monday, after which we will have a clearer way forward in what is not a matter for me, as Leader of the Commons, but a matter for the House. I, as Leader of the Commons, will make sure that I facilitate whatever the House decides.

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