Spoof MP job advert offers new recruits chance to abuse women at work

‘Fourteen MPs were accused of harassment and assault during the 2017 Pestminster scandal, and yet not a single MP has lost their job’

Maya Oppenheim
Women's Correspondent
Friday 11 October 2019 17:40
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The feminist political party, which was set up in 2015, has launched a national campaign questioning why MPs faced with the unresolved allegations have managed to hold on to their positions
The feminist political party, which was set up in 2015, has launched a national campaign questioning why MPs faced with the unresolved allegations have managed to hold on to their positions

Spoof job adverts offering potential MPs the chance to grab women round the neck with impunity have been posted as part of a campaign to highlight bullying and abuse in Westminster.

The Women’s Equality Party has launched the drive to call into question why MPs facing unresolved allegations are not compelled to step down from their jobs.

The campaign, which organisers say coincides with the country “gearing up for an imminent general election”, publicises MP “vacancies” appealing to abusers who subject women to sexual harassment and assault.

A billboard, online job adverts and fly posters displayed at political party headquarters and job centres feature slogans such as “MP required. *Experienced harassers accepted. *If not, must be willing to keep shtum” and “Want to grab a woman by the neck and keep your job? Become an MP!”

Mandu Reid, the party’s leader, said: “This campaign shows just how absurd and outrageous it is that our MPs are held to lower standards than we would expect them to meet in any other job.

“One in five staff members in Westminster reported experiencing harassment in a single year, and 14 MPs were accused of harassment and assault during the 2017 Pestminster scandal, and yet not a single MP has lost their job. It is clear that there is a culture of impunity in our parliament and our political parties that needs to change.”

She said violence against women and girls was an “epidemic” in the UK, noting domestic abuse murders are at a five-year high and conviction rates for rape at an all-time low.

Ms Reid added: “The fact that men in positions of power are themselves getting away with harassment and assault sends the message that this violence doesn’t matter.”

Five MPs accused of assault or sexual harassment will face abuse survivors – who are standing against them and represent the Women’s Equality Party – at the next general election.

Serena Laidley, the party’s candidate for Luton North, said: “Women who have survived abuse, or who are unfortunately still suffering from it, should be able to look to parliament to set an example and take real action. But we can’t have any faith that these political parties will make a proper commitment to ending violence against women and girls unless they are willing to hold their own representatives to account.”

A House of Commons spokesperson said: “Parliament’s behaviour code makes clear the standards of behaviour expected of everyone in parliament, whether staff, members of the House of Lords, MPs or visitors. There is zero tolerance for abuse or harassment. The behaviour code is supported by the independent complaints and grievances scheme.”

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