Woman who says MP sexually assaulted her criticises Theresa May's response to growing scandal

The woman said House of Commons authorities told her they could do nothing as she wasn't employed directly by them but by a different MP

Tom Peck
Tuesday 31 October 2017 19:08
The woman claims House of Commons authorities turned a blind eye to her complaints
The woman claims House of Commons authorities turned a blind eye to her complaints

A woman who reported having been sexually assaulted by an MP to four different authorities who then failed to act, has said the proposed new measures to deal with allegations of harrassment are “inadequate.”

The woman, who works for another MP, and whose experiences were raised in the House of Commons on Monday by MP Liz Saville Roberts, told The Guardian:

“Some of the people who knew what happened to me are now being tasked with fixing this broken system and those are the very people who in my opinion at best turned a blind eye and at worst actively covered it up,” she said.

“To put the responsibility on senior politicians to fix this is inadequate and not going to work. It’s inappropriate and I have very little faith or trust that they are suddenly going to have the victims’ interests at heart. It is all about self-protection.”

The woman said she was sexually assaulted on a foreign trip by an unnamed MP.

‘He said: ‘Come and talk to me while I pack my bag,’ and I honestly didn’t think anything of it. I thought we had a very professional relationship. There had been no indication of any flirting or anything at all,” she said.

“But when I got to his hotel room, he said: ‘Come and sit on the bed’ which made me feel uncomfortable, so I didn’t and I was standing near the door. But he was quite insistent, so tried to brush it off, saying: ‘Come on pack your bags and we’ll go and meet everybody.’

“At which point, he basically pulled me on to the bed and pushed me back, and tried to kiss me. I very clearly said: ‘No, this is not what I want.’ He held me by my shoulders and pushed me back again. On the third time, I managed to push him off again and basically ran out the room.

“Initially I was just really shocked and I didn’t expect it but I was quite quickly scared because I knew I was in a vulnerable situation”

She also said she told House of Commons authorities about the incident, who told her as she was not employed by the commons but by another MP, they was nothing they could do.

“We also notified the party,” she said. “But they did nothing. They said it was the first time they’d heard about the incident within about six weeks of it happening but... [the party] made no commitment to investigate, respond, do anything and sure enough we never heard any response from them,” she said. “We don’t know whether they had a word with the MP involved or turned a blind eye or what.”

A spokesman for the House of Commons said: “The house is limited in its ability to intervene in employment matters, such as allegations of bullying or harassment by MPs of their staff as MPs are self-employed and employ their staff directly.

“We provide HR advice to MPs through the members’ HR advice service, who also promote good employment practices. A free confidential helpline is provided by the House of Commons and available 24/7 for all members’ staff.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Labour activist Bex Bailey said she had been raped in 2011 at a Labour Party event.

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